Oregon State Fair: Celebrating a Decade of the best in the west:

By Region 8’s Roving Reporter

Miniature Herefords are certainly not new to the Oregon State Fair (OSF). In 1999, John and Betty Johnson of Straitside Ranch in Sequim, Washington, took a trailer of their Minis to the OSF and showed with the All Other Breeds—against Chi Angus. Thankfully, with a little persistence and diplomacy, they were able to begin a separate Mini
show in 2000. Since then, breeders have loaded up their best stock and traveled to Salem, increasing the number of cattle exhibited with each year. Due to the determination and faithfulness of breeders in Washington, Oregon, and California to diligently promote Miniature Herefords (and only receive ribbons for their efforts), they finally received premiums after six years. This also will mark the second time of MHBA sponsorship.

In order to celebrate their 10-year anniversary, breeders are dubbing this year’s show “The Best in the West” and are planning a barn-full of special events. This year, they will be holding The Second Annual Junior Showmanship competition in which there are four class divisions: Peewee (ages seven and under), Junior (8-10), Intermediate
(11-13), and Senior (14-18). If anyone would like a registration form for the showmanship event, please contact the OSF Mini Hereford Show Organizers, Cynthia DuVal (duvalacj@msn.com, 503-873-5572) and Erin Eldridge (cowqueen1998@yahoo.com, 541-619-7008).

The Oregon State Fair is the only Miniature Hereford show besides the NWSS (Denver) celebrating a decade of excellence. With a milestone such as this, a new tradition has emerged, a Silent Auction and Raffle. The raffle item is said to be something that no mini owner can live without. Organizers hope to have multiple silent auction items, and request that if you would like to donate something for the auction, to send it them.In addition to all the fun things planned for at the fairgrounds, they will also be having a special Dinner and Award Ceremony on Sunday evening to present awards for First in Class and Division winners as well as the Reserve and Grand Champion Bull and Female.

Here is the preliminary schedule for the 2009 Oregon State Fair:
Entry Registration Due: August 1, 2009
In: Friday, September 4, 2009 by 5:00 PM
Weight/Measure: Saturday, September 5
Junior Showmanship: TBA
Show: Sunday, September 6, 2009, 11:00 AM
Dinner & Award Ceremony: Sunday, September 6
Move Out: Monday, September 7, 2009 at
8:00 PM (Distances will have an early release)

An estimated 385,000 people meander through the 185-acre fairgrounds and enjoy over 9000 things to see, eat, and do during the twelve-day event. Since the OSF is a state fair, and is more than just a livestock show, people flood through the barns to view the cattle and the public interest in Mini Herefords over the past few years is
phenomenal. A friendly atmosphere for all ages welcomes hundreds of livestock breeders and prospective Miniature Hereford buyers. Oregon is certainly a wide open door for promotion of the breed and sales! “We were so busy last year talking to people about [Minis] on the morning of show day that we had to rope the aisle off in order to
prepare for show. And the stands were packed with people during the show,” says Silverton FFA member Megan Veach of Scotts Mills, Oregon (a participant in DuVal Farm’s Mini Lease Program).

As we all know, it can take years for people to decide to finally make the big jump and invest in Miniature Herefords. Take for example, DuVal Farms from Silverton, Oregon. “We first saw Minis at the Oregon State Fair in 2003, and again the next year,” said Jerry DuVal, “but we didn’t actually purchase anything until the fall
of 2004.” They raised standard Herefords and Limousine for over 40 years, but began making the switch after buying two bred polled heifers from Straitside Ranch. The FFA and Open Miniature Hereford Show at the 2005 Oregon State Fair was the first time they showed cattle, and since then, their cattle have been to California, Washington, Billings (NILE), Denver, Austin, and Houston. Cynthia DuVal said, “We would never have gotten into this industry if not for the breeders at the Oregon State Fair—
we probably wouldn’t have even known [Minis] existed.” Now, in four short years, they have boosted their Mini herd size up from two to 45.

Since the Miniature Hereford Show first began at the Oregon State Fair, breeders particularly from the Pacific states have exhibited their cattle—but each of them greatly encourages ALL breeders (big and small) to come and try it out. The barn atmosphere is completely laid back and everyone helps each other out. This is not a dogeat-dog competition; instead, it is more like a gigantic family reunion, minus the family drama of course. The OSF is fun for your whole family, especially with the mutton bustin’ and huge food court. Once you show at “The Best in the West,” it’s guaranteed you’ll be coming back for more!

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