For one week every summer, members of 4-H clubs from across Dubois County, Indiana move their animals into the community barns at the fairgrounds. Between livestock shows, they find creative ways to fill their time as they reunite with friends, care for their animals and take part in the traditions started by 4-H'ers before them.
To get a better view of the beef show, Bo Weyer, 5, left, Maddix Small, 11, Chloe Hickerson, 6, Kiera Lindauer, 7, all of Ferdinand, and Shelby Steckler of St. Henry, 8, stand on the ledge above Kiera's dairy heifer Sally during the Dubois County 4-H Fair in Bretzville, Indiana.
Steve Robinson of Otwell watches riders carry American flags, the Indiana state flag and 4-H flag as they ride in formation in the grand entry before the senior gaming horse show. Robinson came to the show to support Leah Schnell, who works at his horse farm.
Alexandra Hohler of Huntingburg, 9, cuddles with her 3-month-old Katahdin sheep Lily. Alexandra's family has 10 animals at the fair, but Lily is her favorite.
As 4-H'ers bustle around them, Mitch Brown of Perry County, 15, entertains his girlfriend Kendra Hoffman of Schnellville, 15, to calm her nerves before she competes in the beef show. Mitch took off work to support her and the couple spent twelve hours exploring the fair together.
Ava Verkamp of St. Anthony, 9, left, Kinley Schnell of Celestine, 7, Alexandra Hohler of Huntingburg, 9, and her sister Elizabeth Hohler, 12, rinse off in a water trough after the annual shaving cream fight.
Lily Harpe of Alexandria, 10, laughs as she is hit by a water gun's stream during the horse and pony barn's shaving cream fight.
Collin Betz of Schnellville, 6, visits with the beef cattle as his brother Konner Betz, 11, Jaxson Tanner of Huntingburg, 9, Camren Giesler of Ferdinand, 14, and Philicity Collignon of Ferdinand, 14, play a card game in the beef barn.
Making use of the dirt floor of the dairy barn, Kynsley Gogel of St. Henry, 8, left, Mya Hickerson of Ferdinand, 8, Bo Weyer of Ferdinand, 5, Aylnn Gogel of St. Henry, 5, and Maddix Small of Ferdinand, 11, play together. "Kynsley and I got bored of the volcano and wanted to make a new design. We're just experimenting to see," Maddix said.
Lucas Gutgsell of Celestine, 17, surprises his 4-H leader Danielle Schnell of Celestine with a bucket of water to rinse off after she was hit by a piece of animal dung.
Brooklyn Tretter of Huntingburg, 16, left, looks at the blue ribbon won by her boyfriend, Chanler Balsmeyer of Huntingburg, 16, as they lounge with Dylan Ring of Huntingburg, 13, and Ben Werner of Ferdinand, 13, near the Ring family's dairy cattle. "We always hang out every year," Ben said about the friends from across the county that he's made through 4-H. After his mom drops him off in the morning, Ben spends hours catching up with his buddies. He said the result is friendships that feel different than those formed at school where there's little time to talk.
Kale Burke of Jasper, 16, chews on a piece of hay. "You got to find a good piece," Kale said.
Chanler Balsmeyer of Huntingburg, 16, pulls on the rope with all his strength to help his team, "American Beef", claim the championship title during the annual tug of war competition. 4-H'ers from the beef barn competed against a team from the horse and pony barn.
Quinten Schue of Jasper, 5, learns proper washing technique from his cousin and god mother Abby Fischer of Jasper, 15, as they scrub Abby's angus heifer Miley. "My favorite part [of the fair] is cows because it's been a family tradition," Abby said. "I have a bunch of little cousins, so helping them and seeing them grow up with it, just as I did, is really cool."
"I hope you get motion sickness," jokes Jacob Uebelhor of Ferdinand, 12, center, to Adam Weyer of Ferdinand, 13, right, as Jacob swings the hammock he shared with Reese Verkamp of Schnellville, 15, left, towards Adam. The hammocks hung over Isaac and Emma Uebelhor's goat pens.
Brandon Pund of St. Anthony, 16, naps in the beef barn. 4-H'ers bring in furniture at the beginning of the week to sleep and relax on during long days at the fair.