Fiesta 'Til the Cows Come Home at the Wisconsin State Fair

A Waukesha County team goes showcases their theme “Fiesta ‘Til the Cows Come Home” at the 2019 Wisconsin State Fair.

Until the cows come home, Emma Brennan and her team will be at the Wisconsin State Fairgrounds, watching over them.

Brennan, 19, is a 4-H’er for Waukesha County. She’s showing two cows at the fair this year and pulled the Wednesday evening 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. shift to make sure the animals stayed safe overnight.

“A little tired but happy to be here,” is how she put it.

The Waukesha County team went all out with its theme presentation. Each year, each county has to match its decorations to the fair’s theme, which is “Hooray Wisconsin Dairy.”

As a spinoff, the Waukesha County team’s theme is “Fiesta ’Til the Cows Come Home.” Bright banners, sombrero and taco cut-outs and piñatas (both 3D and cut-out) adorn the aisle that holds the cows. They’re sprinkled on posts and above the signs that describe each cow’s birthday, lineage, breed and exhibitor, or person showing the animal.

Photos by Hannah Hoffmeister

Brennan says the theme isn’t just to make things “as fun as possible” for viewers, even though that’s part of it. The theme spinoff contributes to the herdsmanship score for the club.

According to the online 2019 Junior Beef Cattle Entry Information handbook, “Herdsmanship will be based on decorations, appearance and cleanliness of display area, care given to animals, and general cooperation and attitude of exhibitor.”

Another scoring component is showmanship, where the animals’ features are examined and scored.

Garret Crowe, 19, is showing a cow named Apple Pie. Crowe speaks of Apple Pie like she’s a person or friend — “she’s a little bit sleepy,” he said, pointing at a calm, sleepy-looking gray cow. He stopped sweeping the aisle — another task related to herdsmanship — to pose for a picture with Apple Pie, cuddling her face in his arm affectionately.

Crowe and Brennan will both show their cows at the fair. They are competing in the junior state competition, which is for exhibitors up to age 20.