Keeping it All in the Family

For brothers Grant and Carl Nelson, the DuPage County Fair is not just about rides and fun. It’s about showcasing their 4-H sheep and watching all their hard work pay off.

“I got champion ewe and champion ram for my breeds, and reserve grand champion for my ewe over all the breeds,” said Grant.

The Nelson brothers started showing sheep about seven years ago, and they know producing a winner is a year round job.

“The kids learn to do a lot of things,” said Randy Nelson, their father. “They have chores every morning before school.”

In addition to learning how to raise and take care of a farm animal, they boys say they enjoy traveling to different fairs to show.

“I think it’s fun showing sheep,” said Carl. “And it gives me something to do during the summer since all I have right now is football.”

But showing animals at the fair is more than just giving the kids something to do during the summer. It’s about family bonding and continuing a family tradition.

“I was here showing sheep when I was a kid,” said Randy. “And I think my kids decided they’d like to get some sheep because I had sheep when I was a youngster.”

“He taught me all the stuff that I do with them,” said Grant. “I do most of the work now cause he’s getting a little older, but he helped out when I was younger a lot.”

For 4-H judge Brad Temple, it’s families like the Nelson’s that exemplifies what the county fair is all about.

“They’re all in there working together at it,” said Temple. “It’s just fun. It’s like watching my own kids out there last week. You can watch the sibling rivalry out there kind of play out in the middle of the ring. Good families like that are easy to find in these livestock barns.”

The Nelson boys say they hope to pass along their interest in showing livestock to their kids someday, and make it three generations of Nelsons at the fair.

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