BONNEVILLE and BINGHAM COUNTIES, Idaho -
Many kids look forward to the fair all summer for the promise of fun and food.
When sisters Bailey and Amanda go to the fair, it's not for the rides. As 4H kids, they have spent their summer raising animals to show and auction.
"It's really sad at the end because it's really hard to say goodbye because you grow a special bond with them," says Amanda, 10.
Amanda has formed that bond with her goat, Jamoca, and Bailey with her lamb, Justin Bie-Baa
Besides training and caretaking, Bailey has learned about the business.
"The judge is usually looking for muscle in the lamb, and if he's going to market, how much meat he will sell for," explains Bailey, 12.
Dr. Tony Parsons, 4H leader and vetrinarian, says that is an important part of the program.
"Knowing where our food comes from, this gives these kids a chance to work with these animals and learn where they come from and what it takes to raise a good beef animal. "
In Bingham County, more kids than ever get that chance.
Cattle Kids is a program that allows city kids to raise an animal, even if they don't have the land for it.
Marlee cares for her calf at the Eastern Idaho Fairgrounds, and next week she will move from the stalls to the show arena.
Marlee says her favorite part is "bonding with the animals and being able to be with them. We pet them and walk them and brush them a lot."
The work is abundant, but in the end, it's really about the lessons learned.
"They learn responsibility, they learn to take care of something outside of themselves, they learn to set goals, they learn to finish," says Scott Nash, extension educator for University of Idaho, who sponsors 4H.
Cattle Kids is run almost entirely by volunteers, and the kids will be showing at the Bingham County Fair next week.
Bailey and Amanda will compete in Bonneville County on Wednesday.