Youths, animals focus of Pocahontas County Fair

POCAHONTAS – In a corral at the Pocahontas County Fairgrounds, Alyssa Hamre was astride her horse, Katie, Friday morning as the two prepared for upcoming horse shows.

Earlier in the day, brothers Nick and Nathan Hanson bathed a pair of sheep, one of which loudly and repeatedly voiced its displeasure with the proceedings.

Meanwhile, Madisen Hess listened intently as a judge critiqued her entry in the 4-H bucket of flowers competition.

The Pocahontas County Fair, entering its fourth day today, emphasizes the talents of young people like Hamre, the Hanson brothers, and Hess.

In addition to the animals and plants that are the heart of any county fair, the event in Pocahontas features a building full of exhibits on subjects as diverse as robotics, photography and the thresher shark.

Hamre, 15, of Pocahontas, said this is her third or fourth year at the fair with Katie. She said Katie is an American paint quarter horse.

The two will compete in a variety of shows in this year’s fair, including ones that emphasize appearance, teamwork and speed. But Hamre said her favorite event is called Western pleasure.

“It makes it look like it’s a pleasure to ride your horse and you’re not bouncing all over the place,” she said.

Hamre has already participated in Wednesday’s dog obedience and dog agility shows. She’s also showing a rabbit at the fair.

Nathan Hanson, 13, of Pocahontas, is showing sheep at the fair for the third year. He said his favorite part of the fair is “just having fun and hanging with my friends.”

Hess, 11, of Fonda, entered her first fair event this year. She said she decided to enter the bucket of flowers competition after attending a workshop at The Flower Bed in Rolfe.

She started making her bucket by picking a flower with a red color that she liked. Then she picked other flowers with colors that she felt looked good with the red ones. Her initial effort in a fair competition earned her a red ribbon.

The fact that Jaden Ahlrichs doesn’t live on a farm didn’t stop him from entering a hog in the 4-H competition.

Ahlrichs, 13, of Pocahontas, entered the special swine challenge. That’s an event in which youths who don’t live on a farm are paired with a pork producer and raise a hog for the fair.

”I always wanted to show an animal here so when I saw they had this I decided to go for it,” he said.

His animal, a 4-month-old Yorkshire hog named Smalls, won the blue ribbon in his class.

”It was hard trying to control him,” Ahlrichs said of his experience in the show ring. ”He was a little stubborn.”

Caleb Ekstrand, 16, of rural Pocahontas County, had his own dilemma with a stubborn hog during Friday morning’s swine judging. One of his hogs, a 300-pounder, decided it didn’t want to move. He got the animal moving eventually.

Ekstrand showed six pigs Friday and received a reserve champion award in his class.

Today’s fair events include the beef showmanship and bucket calf judging plus a Farm Bureau cook-off competition. On Sunday there will be a pedal pull, style show and closing ceremony. A livestock auction Monday morning will be the final fair event.