Three children to exhibit at annual fair this week
By Jason Arndt
Jessica and Scott Bailey’s children worked day and night on their projects for the Racine County Fair.
The children – Kyle, 15, Brooklyn, 13, and Jameson, 10 – started work bright and early in the morning to care for their animals and continued through the evening hours.
According to Jessica, her three children, like all other Racine County Fair exhibitors, don’t have a typical summer.
“Kids that show at the fair, they don’t have a normal summer as far as their mornings and getting up,” she said, adding they spend time washing their animals, working together as a cohesive unit, and making sure the animals are fed a healthy diet with steady exercise.
“There is a lot of hard work that goes into the project and it is very rewarding.”
But, after several months of work, the Bailey children will officially show their diverse range of projects at the 101st annual Racine County Fair set for this week on the Racine County Fairgrounds in Union Grove.
The 101st annual event themed “Fair-Ever Fun” started on Wednesday and runs through Sunday.
The Racine County Fair, according to Scott, essentially crosses the finish line for his children, who have spent countless hours working on their animals.
Dedicated to 4-H
The three children, who reside on a hobby farm in the Town of Burlington with their parents, will show their projects through Kan-Do 4-H Club.
Kyle, 15, plans to showcase pigs called Hollywood and Jolt, while submitting a welding project at the Racine County Fair.
“My previous years, I have been exhibiting turkeys and meat birds. I have also been doing some welding projects, woodworking projects and then my main exhibit of showing pigs,” said Kyle, an incoming Burlington High School sophomore. “I am very passionate about pigs. I try my best to do well in that.”
Jameson attends St. John’s Lutheran School and enters his second year as an exhibitor
He will present poultry projects.
Jameson, who named his turkeys Bert and Ernie and chickens Jimmy and Neutron, acknowledged the turkeys have brought the most challenges.
“The turkeys are because they are such a strong animal for a young person,” Jameson said when asked of challenges. “They can knock you down.”
Despite the challenges, Jameson is still eager to learn more about showcasing animals, finding early inspiration from his older brother.
“I taught Jameson how to walk a pig. I think he is more passionate about it than I am,” Kyle said. “This year he has been doing the best he can. He has been walking my pigs and kept up with us in doing chores.”
Heartbreak to heartwarming
Meanwhile, Brooklyn, who attends Karcher Middle School, worked for several months raising two pigs named Wallen and Zeus, as well as sheep called Chaching and Reba. She submitted Zeus as a carcass entry.
However, recently, she experienced a broken foot after falling in the barn.
Despite the setback, members of Kan-Do 4-H Club and her family have stepped up to take care of her animals, and have even offered to exhibit them during the Racine County Fair.
“It feels heartwarming to see,” Brooklyn said. “When I broke my foot, everyone was wondering who was going to show my animals. Then everyone stepped in and offered.”
Raelyn Keyes, 14, who will become a freshman at Union Grove High School, has agreed to showcase some of Brooklyn’s animals with assistance from their friend, Ramona Holden, at the Racine County Fair.
Keyes said she felt it was imperative to help another exhibitor.
“I felt really bad for her. I am good at what I do, so I figured I would help her,” said Keyes.
Keyes typically showcases pigs, rabbit and duck projects at the Racine County Fair.
Meanwhile, Kyle has also come forward to help his sister.
Kyle admits he doesn’t have much experience showing sheep.
But he has shown a willingness to learn because it will help his sister.
“I have been trying my best to learn how to show a sheep, how to set them up right, make them look good, and then helping to clip them. I have been stepping up with chores in feeding them, walking them,” Kyle said.
“I am just there to help out in whatever she needs.”
As for the outside support, like Brooklyn, Kyle also found it inspiring to see.
“I think it is very heartwarming to show that there are still good people out there,” Kyle said.
Brooklyn, meanwhile, also plans to enter cake decorating and sewing projects at the Racine County Fair.
More than animals
Like Brooklyn, Kyle will also enter a non-animal project.
While some fairgoers come for the animals, Kyle said non-animal projects like his and his sister’s are equally important, noting it highlights other passions.
“I think it is very important because it just shows what other people are into, it shows off their skills, it also shows off what they are passionate about and what they like to do,” Kyle said. “I think we all need to take a step back and appreciate other people’s work.”
Additionally, the Racine County Fair fosters teamwork, camaraderie and teaches children the value of hard work.
“I love seeing the hard work pay off,” Brooklyn said. “There are a lot of nights where we work really hard in the barn.”
Kyle concurred, adding each project took a community to create, noting the Baileys work together.
“This is kind of like a team effort. We all work as a team, there is no individual assigned to one person,” he said. “We all try to help each other and try to do the best that we can as a family.”
Brooklyn said she has learned to appreciate her parents more, since they are coming forward with needed funds, especially when taking care of animals comes at a cost.
“We all put in the hard work and we all appreciate each other,” Brooklyn said. “At the end of the day, our parents are paying for the feed bills and our siblings are helping each other out with our projects.”
As for Scott and Jessica, they found the Racine County Fair not only beneficial for their family, but for the entire community.
“It is fun to see the families come together and how the kids have improved over the years in showmanship,” Jessica said.
Jessica, meanwhile, recognized her children have learned valuable tools while raising animals and creating other projects for the Racine County Fair.
“It takes hard work, dedication, compassion for others and responsibility,” Jessica said. “It is really fun to see them mentor or help others at the fair.”
Scott said he takes pride in seeing his children prosper.
“After a while, you don’t really have to tell the children how to show animals at the fair,” he said. “That is really rewarding.”