Mansfield youth readies for fair

Jackson Asmussen, 7, with his Black Angus bottle calf named Bandit. Asmussen will show Bandit in the Open Division at the North Central Washington Fair Aug. 22-25. (Empire Press photo/Adrienne Douke)


By Adrienne Douke
Empire Press Correspondent

It’s that time of year again, and North Central Washington Fair participants are gearing up for an exciting four days of fair exhibitions, competitions and fun Aug. 22-25.

For many 4-H and FFA families, the NCW Fair is the highlight of their summer. This year at the Asmussen Ranch, Jackson, 7, and Taya Asmussen, 3, are getting ready for the fair by preparing their entries. They have been working hard for months feeding, cleaning and caring for their animals. They have taught them to behave while they bathe and brush them to perfection. They also handle them daily so that they will be calm for the judge. Patience is needed for teaching their animals how to be transported, and finally the process for showing them in livestock exhibitions at the fair.

Jackson entered his Quarter Horse pony Bullseye in the Open Horse Show. He also entered a Nigerian goat he named Cool, a Buff Orpington chicken, and a Black Angus bottle calf he has raised called Bandit.

“Bandit was a twin, and his mother couldn’t produce enough milk for both of them, so I bottle fed him,” Jackson said.

All of the animals will be bathed, brushed and slicked down so they will look their finest in the show ring. Getting them used to bathing starts long before they are introduced to the arena.

“They enjoy being clean, I think Bandit likes it the most,” Jackson said.

Cool, the goat, will need certain equipment for showing such as shampoo, brushes, show halter, a lead rope and clippers.

Proper showing attire is also important. A white long-sleeved button down shirt and black slacks are required in the show ring. A big part of fair participation is learning professionalism and “proper attire teaches that,” said Christy Asmussen, mother of Jackson and Taya.

Asmussen holds a degree in Ag Ed and is on the NCW Fair Board.

“Agriculture is dear to my heart and I want to support what I believe is a great organization,” she says.

Jackson and Taya are fifth generation ranchers. Jackson says he wants to follow in his father’s footsteps and join the military when he is old enough, and continue in the family tradition of raising cattle and becoming a rancher.

4-H and the FFA are organizations that promote the development of excellence in agricultural pursuits for young people.

Taya will show her Dwarf Nigerian goat Giggles in the Open Division. She also has an Icelandic chicken and a Havana rabbit entered. Instilling confidence and responsibility start early on the ranch.

“We are excited to see her begin this time honored tradition in our family,” Christy Asmussen said.

4-H members learn through entering and showing their livestock, and also how to properly take care of their animals. Animal health and how to handle livestock are also important skills, “We work the cattle together as a family,” Asmussen said.

Fourth generation rancher Levi Asmussen said, “Ranching is the best way, a great way of life for us. It is reward in itself.”

“The feeding, watering, and cleaning up after the horse, the steer, goats, chickens and rabbits are the kids’ jobs. They learn that the work must be done every day, even when the weather is bad. That’s ranch life,” Asmussen said.

“Raising livestock also teaches our kids where our food comes from,” Asmussen said. “Life on the farm teaches purpose, and gives our kids a solid plan for their futures.”

The Asmussens encourage everyone to come to the fair and see what a great job these kids have done and cheer them on for their hard work.