JAMESTOWN — For Taylor Linebaugh, getting ready for the next Greene County Fair starts when the fair ends.
When she says ‘yes’ to another year of 4-H, she knows what’s ahead of her: a full year of working in the barn.
“It’s lots of long days, late nights and early mornings with them really,” she said of her market steer, market heifer and feeder calf that she’ll show this year.
Linebaugh, 14, of Jamestown will soon load up her animals for her sixth fair.
Mornings for the Greeneview High Schooler begin in the barn at 6. She feeds the animals, walks them and washes them. Throughout the day, she checks on them and makes sure their pens are clean. Before bed, she walks and rinses them.
“I spend all the time with them every day,” she said. “And during school, I come home and walk them and wash them and do everything with them, too.”
But she’s not always alone in her efforts.
“It’s a family thing. We all do it,” she said. “My little sisters walk their feeder calves with me every night. My step-dad helps me all the time. When I have volleyball, he helps.”
“She’s just a hard worker,” Ross Moffitt, Linebaugh’s step-dad, said. “She does it all. She runs the barn. I built the barn for her when she got old enough — it’s her baby now.”
Moffitt said he helps with the finances, but the rest is up to her.
“She’s in charge. She goes out here by herself every day,” he said. “When she was little we helped her, because you know, those are big animals … I ask Taylor every year if she wants to do the fair, and she says ‘yes’. And then it’s a year-long committment.”
Linebaugh, a member of Farmers & Friends 4-H Club, left the fair last year with a dozen trophies and plaques for her cattle and hogs — including the prize for a grand champion market steer.
“It was fun and exciting,” she said. “I was really happy. It was very rewarding and fun.”
Linebaugh may credit her success to the number of hours spent in the barn, but one of her show secrets is a simple, quiet one.
“I talk to them a lot to keep them calm,” she said.
Now with less than a week until the fair begins, Linebaugh is gearing up for competition.
“Hopefully we have a good run at it again this year,” she said. “We’re ready for it.”
Contact Anna Bolton at 937-502-4498 or follow @annadbolton on Facebook.