COLUMBIA -- Hundreds of ranchers from across the state flocked to the fairgrounds to show their cattle, horses and other livestock in competition at the South Carolina State Fair.
The fair has categories for dairy cattle, junior dairy cattle, beef cattle, junior beef cattle and junior beef showmanship, as well as other competitions featuring animals from horses to rabbits. The cows are judged on their demeanor, body frame and shape, and in the case of dairy cows, their ability to give milk.
Beth Rogers and her husband own Double Ridge and Twins Ridge farms where they raise dairy cows for their twin granddaughters to show. While this year they brought one cow to the fair to sell, the real joy in raising livestock is the opportunity to show the cows.
“The girls wanted to get involved because they loved 4-H, they got involved in the 4-H program and then next thing you know they had rabbits. Next thing you know they wanted a cow so, we just enjoy it,” Rogers said. In addition to the one cow they are selling, the Rogers family brought 10 cows total to the State Fair.
For Tim Tinsley, a man who has spent his life working and traveling with cows, showing them is a family affair. He started raising and showing cows through the Clemson 4-H program, which teaches youths how to raise and care for livestock, and he has passed that experience on to his children.
“I traveled with cows and now my kids, I’ve got an 11-year-old girl and an 18-year-old boy and they got into 4-H,” Tinsley said. He works on the farm where his kids keep their show cows. Tinsley says they do it not only for fun, but also because it is a good way to learn important life skills.
“It’s a lot of responsibility and learning and they enjoy it,” Tinsley said.
One family, however, brings their cows to the fair for a different reason. Sadie Cali is the owner of Trinity Heritage Ranch, a non-profit organization that rescues animals. They bring their cows and goats to the fair and charge people a dollar to feed the animals. They also have a fully grown dairy cow they bought at an auction after she was put up for sale for not producing enough milk.
“She’s raising a calf for the first time, so that’s awesome because usually they’re taken away right away,” Cali said. “She gets lots of hands-on loving from the kids,”
The money they make at this fair and the other ones they travel to across the South goes to keeping their ranch open and functioning. The ranch, located just outside Florence, rescues and cares for a variety of animals, including wolves.
Livestock competitions occur throughout the 12-day State Fair. Winners are awarded cash prizes, but according to Tinsley, that’s not what it’s all about.
“It’s the farm life ... It’s the love of the game,” Tinsley said.