HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Farm Show is drawing thousands of people this week to see hundreds of farm animals. Taking care of those animals throughout the eight-day show, however, is no easy task.
On Jan. 6, cattle waited in one of the PA Farm Show's show rings, flaunting their fluffy coats. Several divisions competed, including Angus, Shorthorn and Hereford.
To prepare his cattle for the competition, farmer Kevin Grim and his family arrived two weeks ahead of the show to set up. They brought food, hay and the three black angus heifers they were showing.
"Probably the hardest part on show days is getting up very early and getting everything ready," Grim said.
Even after they arrived, there was no time to relax. The cattle depend on them 24 hours a day, so each day the Grims arrived at the show by 4:30 a.m. and stayed until after 6 p.m.
"Yeah, we're tired at the end of the week," Grim said. "Very tired."
Cows can be uncomfortable in their new surroundings, which are different from home. There are also a lot more people than they're used to seeing, so sometimes they need to be calmed down.
"I just try talking to them like I would at home," said Katelyn Fry, another farmer showing cattle at the Farm Show. "Like, it's ok, guys. I know it's in a different place, but it's ok."
To help keep the cattle calm, farmers offered a friendly tip to visitors: ask the farmer before petting their cow.
The day of the show, preparation for the cattle includes washing, blowdrying and brushing. They are at last ready for the judges.
"This year I could definitely tell they wanted them kind of short and really fat, their bellies drop to the ground," Fry said.
The cattle get their awards and everyone heads home for some well deserved rest.
Until it's time to start all over again next year.