Livestock has long been a centerpiece of the North Dakota State Fair. Exhibitors come to the fair from throughout the region to display their livestock and compete in the show ring. Horses, goats, sheep and cattle are among the prized animals featured at the fair.
One family from Rhame is among those who make the State Fair an annual event. Trevor and Colbey Steeke could be found in the livestock barns earlier this week. They had a variety of livestock to care for and prepare for competition.
"We bring them all beef, sheep, pigs and goats," said Trevor Steeke. "We raise them at home and exhibit them here. We just have a good time with it. Some people call us weird, but it's a family vacation."
A few feet away son Colbey, 14, was busy preparing a sheep for the FFA competition. He was carefully brushing out sawdust that the animal had picked up while laying comfortably in an indoor pen.
"This is my FFA market lamb," said Colbey Steeke Thursday afternoon. "I've got to get it ready. The FFA show is coming up. This guy here is pretty good. In the open class he got reserved champion market lamb."
Trevor Steeke was watching closely as Colbey groomed his lamb. Showing good livestock is a matter of pride. For Trevor Steeke is serves another purpose as well.
Ashley Miller, Baldwin, with a “blue ribbon” lamb that she showed at the North Dakota State Fair. It was Miller’s first appearance at the State Fair FFA competition.
"Our kids really appreciate it," explained Trevor Steeke. "It forces us to work together as a parent and children. They can do it themselves. We take pride in it and the kids take pride in it also. At home we teach our kids that the animals get fed before we do. Breakfast comes after the animals are fed. Supper comes after the animals are fed and cared for."
Those values contribute to quality livestock in the show ring. Colbey Steeke acknowledged he had some very good examples to follow.
"My family showed. My mom used to be in 4H and FFA," said Colbey Steeke. "For the most part, everybody up here is pretty good. When it's all said and done we are hanging out at the campers and are friends."
"These animals get better treatment than most people," added Trevor Steeke with a large smile. "They eat better. They have a balanced ration. They're fit."
Not far away, and in the same livestock barn, Ashly Miller of Baldwin was tending to her sheep. One of her sheep had captured a blue ribbon during Wednesday's livestock show.
"I have Han/Suffolk crosses. I'm happy with the blue ribbon," said Miller. "It is very competitive. There's a lot of good animals here."
The 2012 State Fair was a first for Miller and her sheep. She was enjoying the experience.
"You get to meet and see people you haven't seen for a while and compete against your friends," said Miller.
Both Miller and Steeke said their lambs were born in early January. Some of the lambs have already been at several livestock shows.