Grand Champions of Cool Down

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Showing animals at the county fair is a big time commitment for 4-H’ers.

“I get here every morning between 6 and 7,” said Olivia Branam, “And I usually leave between 10 and 11 at night.”

That time is normally spent tending to the animals and prepping them for show, but in 90 degree weather, it becomes a constant cycle of protection from the heat.

“I try to check on them every hour at least,” said Tyler Hamilton, “I’ve got two other species here so it’s hard to get to everything, but I try, at least every hour.”

Among other animals, Hamilton shows pigs, and since pigs don’t sweat, he has to use other methods to cool them down.

“I try to rinse them off once a day,” said Hamilton, Take ’em to the wash rack and rinse ’em off, and that’ll keep ’em cool, you also wanna give ’em plenty of water.”

Branam shows four different species, including llamas and alpacas, animals that require a special type of bathing.

“Llamas and alpacas, you can’t full body wash them,” said Branam, “So you just spray their bellies, that keeps them mostly cool.”

Branam says keeping the furry animals cool is crucial to avoid heat stroke, a risk that turns an already busy week into a more vigilant schedule.

But, when it comes to 4-H….

“You gotta do what you gotta do,” said Branam.

Fans are also kept running all day through the livestock barns. Branam says each 4-Her is responsible for providing a fan, water, and other care for their own animals.

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