Most of the contestants showing animals this weekend at the Kansas State Fair have competed for years. And many of their parents and grandparents competed before them.


This weekend’s shows included dairy and beef cattle, and horses. Several contestants came from Oklahoma and Nebraska, while others traveled to Hutchinson from throughout Kansas.


"This is important to me," said Jessica Thiessen. "It’s comfortable."


Jessica’s parents, who run Sasnak Farms, a dairy in Inman, Kan., brought her to the fair since she was a baby. Jake and her brother Seth are both in their 20s. Their father, Merle, who grew up on a farm in Rice County, has attended the fair for more than 50 years - showing animals quite a few.


"I was really glad that they held it," Jessica said. "This is my sense of normalcy right now."


Jessica showed two Brown Swiss cows, Amy and Mezcal. Her brother Seth showed short horns. Another brother and sister, Drake and Haley Hamm attended the fair with their parents, who run Hamm Farms in Walton, Kan.


"I’m here to help my brother," said Haley. "We always travel together as a family (to the fair)."


Drake said it is odd to have empty stands. Although this occurrence does not affect the animals, the fair does not have the same excitement for the competitors.


"This year, it’s weird not having the public here," said Drake, 17. "It’s not a normal state fair."


Getting the animals ready requires a lot of work


"It takes a lot of hours to get them trained," said Brock Burgess, 15. Burgess, who is a part of 4-H and in FFA shows Holsteins and Brown Swiss. Burgess’ family runs Ke Mar Lee Farm in McPherson


This year, there were a little more than 200 dairy and 700 beef cattle showing at the the fair.


Many of the judges were impressed with this year’s entrants. One judge said Jessica’s Brown Swiss Mezcal had a lot of dairy strength and a lot of width.


"It’s great to be here," Jessica said.