Having some real-time milking experience isn't essential but it also did not hurt for the top finishers in the North Dakota State Fair milking contest Wednesday.
Milking an artificial cow, Doug Bichler of Linton won the adult division and 11-year-old Levi Esterly of Leeds won the 12-and-younger division. Dairy Princess Susan Hintz of Flasher beat out five other agricultural royalty and media contestants in the celebrity category.
Bichler was far and away the overall winner with 1,040.2 grams of milk in his pail after 30 seconds of milking frenzy. He won tickets to the Randy Houser concert as well as other prizes that included a milk shake certificate from Midwest Dairy Association.
Koda Watson squirts milk into a bucket from an artificial cow while competing in the junior division in the milking contest at the North Dakota State Fair Wednesday.
"I grew up on a dairy farm," Bichler said. However, having actually milked cows before wasn't really a boon to his efforts, nor did he claim having a strategy.
"I just went in there and manhandled it," he said. "It was easier than I thought it would be."
Levi had a different opinion.
"When I was very little I remember going to a dairy farm," he said. "I think I tried milking one. This was harder than I remember milking back then."
Levi said it was fun, though. The 19 youngsters who participated all seemed to enjoy seeing how much milk they could spray into their buckets while their friends and family cheered them on.
"It's really messy," said Koda Watson, 10, of Minot as he wiped milk from his shorts after competing.
Clay Mantz, 12, of Minot finished second in the junior division. He also competed last year and didn't change his strategy based on experience.
"I just go as fast as I can," he said.
There were three men and nine women in the adult division.
Hintz, who has the role of Dairy Princess from June 2013 until this coming November, donated her $100 winning prize money to the charity of her choice, Hospice of the Red River Valley.