Stearns County Fair brings friends, fun

Schiffler family shows 15 animals

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SAUK CENTRE, Minn. – Throughout central Minnesota, the end of July brings tasseling corn, small grain harvest and the Stearns County Fair. For the Schiffler family, this is one of their favorite times of year.
“The county fair means we get to spend the entire week with our friends,” Sophia Schiffler said. “It is a lot of fun and something we look forward to every year.”
Sophia and her siblings – Isabella, Brady and Bo – exhibited dairy cows at the Stearns County Fair July 27-31 in Sauk Centre. Their youngest brother, 6-year-old Max, will start showing next year when he becomes a 4-H Cloverbud.
The siblings are the children of John and Kristi Schiffler. Their parents milk 260 cows with a robotic milking system near Albany.
The siblings help with washing the robots, scraping, fetching cows and feeding calves. During the fair, John and Kristi complete the chores at home while the children take care of the cattle at the fair.
The Schifflers began showing dairy cattle in 2016 after receiving encouragement from friends to start showing.
“I told my mom and dad I wanted to start showing because I saw how fun it looked,” Sophia said. “The next year, we signed up.”
Showing dairy cattle was a new endeavor for the Schiffler family. They learned showing techniques and skills by watching others and receiving help from people within the county. They have spent the last six years refining their self-learned skills and techniques to become successful. This county fair, Isabella received champion intermediate showman.
“At first, we didn’t really know a lot,” Isabella said. “But with the help of some club members, we learned what to do and then it became a lot of fun.”
Sophia agreed.
“My parents were never in 4-H so we were pretty green at first,” she said.
The Schifflers begin preparing for the county fair in April. They start by picking out the animals they are going to show and familiarizing the cattle with a halter. When the weather turns nicer, they begin walking and training their animals regularly.
“My sister and I do most of the training,” Sophia said. “We work to teach our brothers, and our parents help them out a lot too.”
The Schifflers showed their animals at the Central Minnesota Dairy Day Youth Show June 10 in Sauk Centre. This show allows the kids and their animals to get used to the show arena before the county fair.
“More practice the better,” Isabella said. “It’s also fun to see how our animals compete against others early in the year.”
As the fair got closer, the Schifflers began washing their animals and practicing with show halters. They have found the earlier they start, the easier it is for the animals at the fair.
“As a family, we worked really hard training our animals,” Sophia said. “It paid off at the county fair.”
The Schifflers brought 15 head to the fair, and all four children that showed made it into the state fair lineup. Sophia won champion Red and White with her junior 2-year-old, and Isabella won reserve champion Brown Swiss heifer with her winter calf. The sisters will take these respective animals to the Minnesota State Fair for the 4-H show at the end of August.
In addition to showing dairy, Bo shows poultry. He enjoys learning about a new breed and making new friends.
Sophia and Isabella stick to showing their favorite, dairy cattle.
Over the years, the family has made fun memories and friends. They are already looking forward to next year’s fair.


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