When Caroline Powers, 13, Columbus, Astico Perseverance 4-H Club, entered the junior dairy show ring at the Dodge County Fair on Thursday with her March calf, Bailey, she was on a mission to show that calf like her friends showed theirs, and nothing was going to stand in her way, not even her wheel chair!
Powers dairy farms with her parents, Jon and Lori Powers, Columbus. She was born with Spina Bifida and needs a wheel chair to get around.
The dairy project is considered one of the hardest, most labor intense projects a 4-H or FFA member can enter at the fair, but Powers doesn’t see it that way. “I saw some of my friends doing it, and it looked kind of easy,” commented Powers. “My calf wasn’t hard to break to lead; when we got her out the first time to practice, she already knew how to lead. She did it all on her own.”
Animals can scare easily if they’re not used to something, but Bailey the calf wasn’t scared of Powers’ wheel chair at all. “Her foot sometimes hits the wheel, but otherwise, she’s really good.”
In addition to general care and practicing with their animals all summer long, the dairy youth have to wash their animals daily, or at least several times a week. For Powers, there are no excuses why she can’t do it, too. “She helped almost every time we took the calf out to wash her,” commented her Dad.
All Powers’ hard work paid off. “Bailey walked slow in the ring like I wanted her to. Emma Paulson helped me, and we get to bring her back in the ring later for junior champion, because we won second blue.”
A small army came to Beaver Dam to watch Powers show, “My aunt, cousins, and my Grandmas came to watch me.” Judging from the crowd, though, there were a few more than that.
In addition to dairy, Powers also shows cats at the fair. “I love cats and taming kittens. The cat I’m bringing to show is named Skyler. In cats, I’ve learned safety carrying — carrying the cats in a safe way, kind of like cradling the cat.”
4-H and FFA youth like Powers are exhibiting in a variety of projects all week long, and they all have a story to tell. The Dodge County Fair will continue through Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017.