Two cousins from Ellinwood won the purple ribbons at the 4-H Dairy Show, Thursday at the Barton County Fair.
Lyons dairyman Delmar Conner, who judged the event, said Kristi DeWerff and Ruthann DeWerff both did a good job, even though they had the only two entries for senior dairy cows. Kristi was awarded grand champion for her cow "Allie," and Ruthann took the purple for showmanship.
"I’ve shown cows since I was little, and I love my cows," Kristi DeWerff said. In fact, she had Allie pose with her in one of her senior photos. Both girls are members of the Ellinwood Energizers 4-H club.
"The dairy industry is changing dramatically," said Conner. Small family operations are becoming rare, which is why there were only six entries total for the dairy show.
Sixty-six years ago, Conner won his first blue ribbon in Great Bend, at a district black-and-white dairy show. Back then, dairy enthusiasts came from several counties and he estimates there were 150 entries.
Members of the Fair Board and the 4-H Council estimate this year’s fair had around 3,000 entries, for categories that included a variety of pets and livestock, to items that were grown, cooked or made.
"We had right at 900 (open class) entries," Fair Board member Ty Lewick said.
Teresa Bachand, 4-H secretary, estimates perhaps 2,000 4-H entries. Lewick and Bechand were busy Thursday at the fair office in Expo I, entering results into a computer as other fair workers fielded questions about schedules and concert tickets.
The Barton County Fair continues today, Saturday and Sunday. See the Breakfast Briefing on page 2 of the Great Bend Tribune for a schedule, or go to the website bartoncountyfair.com.