State Fair: From cattle to cat-walk, excused absence is 'best field trip ever'

State Fair: From cattle to cat-walk, excused absence is 'best field trip ever'
Madison Davis and Spring Breeze (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Madison Davis and Spring Breeze (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Brad Taylor (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Brad Taylor (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Sue Davis (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Sue Davis (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Kantlee Harvey (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Kantlee Harvey (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - If you want your Jersey calf to milk the judges, just drop her by Brad Taylor's "clip joint" in the West Wing of the Expo Center.

"They'll look good, and it's a chance to show everybody else what we do," Taylor, a veteran exhibitor from Henry County, said on the Kentucky State Fair's opening day Thursday.

"Junior Show is mostly bragging rights. Open Show, the better they do the more they're worth," he said.

[MORE: Kentucky State Fair News]

Metcalfe County's Madison Davis, 11, wouldn't take her calf's weight in gold for her 2-year-old Ayrshire named Spring Breeze.

"First year I saw her I loved her to death, because she was the best calf," Davis said. "I thought she was unique because right here -- on her head -- she has an upside-down horseshoe."

"At home, she's probably spending four to five hours a day working with her calf," Madison's grandmother, Sue Davis, said. "It keeps her focused."

The same level of intensity plays out in the South Wing, where "cattle call" has its own meaning.  

"I wave, smile, and blow kisses and stuff," said 6-year-old Kantlee Harvey, the reigning Little Miss Morgan County Fair.  

She and Davis are not only are getting a day off from school for pageant and livestock competitions; Kentucky Revised Statute 15.070 sub-paragraph 7 guarantees students a one-day excused absence from school to attend the State Fair.

"They'll get something they never could get in the classroom," retired teacher Sue Davis said. 

"It's about the experience, it gives them a lot of social skills," Kantlee's mother, Anita Barnett, said. 

"It teaches responsibility," Davis said. "They learn how to deal with the public and with other kids their own age.

"You wouldn't thing that's nothing (sic) big," pageant mother Tammy Smith said. "But being able to meet different people--getting out there and being proud of yourself is the main thing we're looking for tonight."

"Some 10,000 students will take field trips to the Fair in the next 11 days," Amanda Storment, the Vice President of Public Relations for the Kentucky State Fair Board, said. "They'll take in our educational exhibits and our livestock. It's the best field trip ever."

Contestants and their parents are taking in as much of the rest of the Fair as their events allow.

"You work around them," Smith said. "It's about learning patience too."

Maddy Davis and her calf know that well.

"She (Spring Breeze) took second in her class and third in overall show. Pretty good, considering she was out there waiting for two hours," she said.

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