FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. —Just two hours after Matthew Hanson came home with the family's 4-H dairy cattle, he made the six hour trip back to the Minnesota State Fair with five Aryshire cows.
Matthew, his older brother, David, and the cows were bound for the open class show.
They traveled 300 miles from their Goodridge farm in northwestern Minnesota to Falcon Heights.
Showing cattle is one way to get the farm name out there, David said.
"It lets people know you are in the dairy business," he said. "You add value to what you do. It probably doesn't make you as much money as you spend going to the show, but there's more to it than money."
They can talk to others about their farm, the breeding stock and embryo transfers they have for sale.
"It's nice to be in an atmosphere where people are doing the same thing you are," David said.
They were joined at the fair by their youngest brother, Steven.
While they are accustomed to the hot weather, the Hansons and other exhibitors took extra measures because high humidity and hot temperatures caused the heat index to reach 95-plus degrees.
When they got to the fairgrounds with their open-class cattle, the brothers parked in a grassy lot. They and other livestock exhibitors formed a U with their trucks and trailers until the fair opened. The Hansons led the cows off the trailer for fresh air and exercise during the break.
"We got a lot of looks when we did that," David said. "But the cows needed it."
Fans were placed around the barn stalls. David and his brothers often took cows to the wash rack for cooling baths.
"It helped," he said. "They'd lay down and start chewing their cud again. They were good."
The Hansons bring as much hay from home as they can, but they purchase straw for bedding.
They work to get show animals accustomed to fair events. They wash animals two to three times a week in summer and halter train the heifers.
The Hansons earned second place with a winter calf, third with a summer yearling, second in the senior three-year-old class and their four-year-old was senior champion and reserve grand champion.
David describes their farm as a traditional operation. It was started by their grandparents, Lynn and Norma. The Hansons milk 45 to 50 registered Ayrshires in a 40-cow tie-stall barn.