Isaac B. Werner never kept cattle, although one day in 1886 when the drought was drying up the prairie grass and times were too hard to afford to buy feed, he had two different neighbors in the same day call on him, offering to sell him one or more cows. One of those neighbors owed Isaac money for carpentry work and offered a cow in settlement of his debt, but Isaac declined. At various times he tried hogs (unsuccessfully), and he kept chickens eventually, and after going into debt to buy his first horse, he always had horses until his death. But never cattle!
Cattle are definitely pampered creatures at the Kansas State Fair! While the poultry had panted in their barn, (See Poultry Barn at the Fair, 10-3-2013.) the cattle seemed quite comfortable beneath the fans stirring the air in their well-lighted, clean barn. The little cowgirl pictured at right was checking their family's contented cows as we entered the barn.
There were cattle of all colors and breeds, with the entry catalogue listing Angus, Charolais, Gelbvieh, Herefords, Limousin, Shorthorn, Simmental, and Watusi, and all of them were groomed to look their best. I watched one rancher using a blower that his wife described to me as being like a giant hair dryer to blow bits of straw off the ebony coat of one of his entries. She explained that when the cattle lie down they pick up pieces of straw, and even though judging was not taking place, her husband wanted to keep his cattle looking their best.
Ironically, the bull drawing the biggest crowd was not at the cattle barn! His name was Leonard, and he was attracting all the attention at the Oz Building. Constructed of every sort of object that a welder's torch could affix to his frame, Leonard was intriguing to examine. There were nuts, bolts, springs, tools, gears--even an old stove door to access Leonard's interior. Click on the photographs to enlarge the images and have fun identifying all the clever parts welded to form Leonard!