A Family Fair: The Scherles

Whenever Cheyenne Scherle of Ireland, 13, sits down in the pen, her favorite goat, Sami, climbs into her lap to cuddle. After working with each of the animals she plans to show at the Dubois County 4-H Fair, Cheyenne relaxed in the barn with Sami, Maci the sheep and the family’s other Nubian dairy goats July 5. “I feel like we’re as close as brother and sister,” Cheyenne said about Sami. “But we don’t fight.”

Story by Olivia Ingle 
Photos by
Sarah Ann Jump

He’s being stubborn today,” 13-year-old Cheyenne Scherle says to her mother, Jackie, across the yard at their Ireland farm.

“It’s hot today, I guess,” Jackie offers for the reason Cheyenne’s Hereford, Bobo, isn’t cooperating.

“Try setting him up one more time,” Jackie tells her daughter.

Cheyenne walks the steer around the yard another time. Meanwhile, Cheyenne’s 16-year-old brother, Cody Scherle, walks his crossbreed steer, Lucky.

“He’s not had the show stick on him yet, Cody. Take it easy at first,” Jackie warns.

It’s June 27, less than three weeks before the start of the Dubois County 4-H Fair, which runs July 16-20. Between the two kids, the Scherles will show 24 animals at the fair — five cattle, seven swine, four goats and eight sheep.

They know that’s quite a lot.

“We’re reducing,” Jackie said. “We did take 28. No other families take that many.”

Cody and Cheyenne worked with their hogs at their family’s farm on May 7. The whip teaches the hogs which direction to walk. Tapping its left side signals that it should go right and vice versa.

Cody, who is in his seventh year of 4-H, takes animals to the fair. In addition to taking animals, Cheyenne — who has been in 4-H five years — also takes reed craft, photography, shooting sports and veterinary science.

She and Cody are also involved with Dubois County’s livestock judging team, also considered a project at the fair, where they learn what judges look for in an animal and how to judge an animal themselves.

In their various competitions with the team, they’ve learned that the look of the livestock depends on male or female and what kind of species. With males, judges look for muscularity. With females, they look at the breeding and structural side of the animal.

Both teens take what they learn with the judging team and apply it to working with their own 4-H animals.

“You bring them home and get them tame to you,” Cody said. “Work with them so they’re not wild. Hang out with them.”

With so many 4-H animals, the Scherles pretty much work with them every day once school is out for the summer. They wash and brush them, feed them, clean up after them, clip their hair and also walk them frequently and practice setting them up, which is getting them to stand a certain way for the judges.

Cheyenne nuzzled Maci the sheep to comfort it as her mother, Jackie, sheared its head June 7. Cheyenne and her brother, Cody, do most of the shearing, but Jackie helps out in the trickier areas as she teaches them the technique.
Cheyenne sheared a sheep named Maci on June 7. Cheyenne and her brother, Cody, do most of the shearing, but their mother, Jackie, helps out in the trickier areas as she teaches them the technique. 

Cheyenne sets up Bobo again.

“The back foot’s up just a little too much, Cheyenne,” Jackie tells her.

Cheyenne uses her show stick to push back one of the steer’s back feet. “Once set up, you scratch them to keep them calm,” Cheyenne says, rubbing the end of the show stick on Bobo’s chest.

Cody sets up his shorthorn steer, Ace, across the yard. “Mom, he doesn’t look too bad, does he?” he asks.

“No,” Jackie replies.

In the evenings, Jackie and her husband, Tom, can often be found helping their kids work with their 4-H animals.

Growing up showing animals in 4-H in Cass County, Jackie (Hay) encouraged her kids to participate in 4-H at least one year to see if they like it. Much to her delight, they loved it.

The mother enjoys still being able to experience 4-H. She’s also on the Dubois County 4-H Sheep Committee and is a leader of Ireland’s Lucky Irish 4-H Club. Tom, who grew up in Dubois County, wasn’t involved with 4-H in his youth, but he enjoys learning right along with his kids.

“(My family is) really close because we did it (4-H) together,” Jackie said. “You won’t succeed if you don’t work together.”

When fair time comes, Jackie’s father and the teens’ grandfather, Bill Hay, and Jackie’s nephew, Michael Gehlhausen, visit Dubois County from Galveston, Indiana, to help the Scherles at the fair.

Cheyenne led Peanut, a Nubian goat, around July 5. Cheyenne and her brother, Cody, 16, are taking 24 animals to the Dubois County 4-H Fair, including swine, sheep, goats and beef cattle.

“My dad loves 4-H,” Jackie said. “He showed cattle.”

In addition to walking and getting the animals acclimated to them, Cody and Cheyenne must also prepare themselves for the fair. Cheyenne likes to go shopping for something new to wear in the show ring, but Cody typically finds something to wear from his closet.

“Wear nice jeans, boots,” Cody said. “Make yourself presentable in the ring so the judge knows, ‘Hey, he knows decency and respect.’”

He added that 4-H teaches him about responsibility and hard work. Cheyenne has gained more respect for animals and they her, so much so that she dreams of becoming a veterinarian.

Cody knows he wants to attend Purdue University — Jackie’s alma mater — and study something agricultural-related.

Agriculture is a way of life for the Scherles, who harvest soybeans, corn and hay on their Ireland farm.

The Scherles take their animals to the 4-H Fairgrounds in Bretzville the Sunday before the start of the fair. Most nights, Cody sleeps at the campground at the fairgrounds; however, the rest of the family typically goes home each night.

Because they take so many animals, Cheyenne and Cody don’t get a lot of breaks during fair week because there’s always a show going on.

But, they’re OK with that.

The siblings’ favorite category they’re judged on is showmanship.

“It’s based on how well you work with your animals,” Cheyenne says.

“It’s based on how the showman acts in the ring,” Cody adds. “How the human reacts with animal. It’s the chemistry between the human and animal.”

Cody even once competed for supreme showmanship and won. Those selected as the top two showmen from each species are invited to compete for supreme showmanship, which requires the showmen to show all the species at the fair. For example, say Cody only showed cattle at the fair. For supreme showmanship, he would also show someone’s swine, sheep, goat and horse in the competition.

“It’s fun showing different types,” he says.

Cody led his crossbred steer, Lucky, around on July 5. The Scherles’ five calves weigh an estimated 1,050 to 1,300 pounds each.  

Jackie remembers when her kids first showed animals at the fair and she says they’ve come a long way since.

“The first year both of them showed calves, they were petrified to walk in the ring,” she said. “They trusted their calves, but didn’t know the other kids’ calves. Once they got in the ring and saw how calm their calf was, they were OK.”

When the county fair is all said and done, the Scherles start planning for the Indiana State Fair held in August in Indianapolis. Any 4-H’er can sign up to take their animals to the state fair.

“The competition is very stiff up there,” Jackie says.

She says the family aspect of 4-H is even more apparent at the state fair. Those coming from Dubois County get a block of hotel rooms and bring food for potlucks.

“There’s a lot of people we didn’t know until we got into 4-H,” Cheyenne says.

After the state fair, the Scherles have to say goodbye to most of their animals, which is difficult. “I honestly feel like the animals are part of the family,” Cheyenne says.

The family sells the cattle and swine locally for the beef and pork. They sell the sheep and goats at a sale barn.

“It’s hard every year,” Jackie said of parting with the animals. “There’s always a few tears when it’s time to take them to the butcher. You spend so much time with them and learn their personality.

“Seems like they know when they’re going, too,” Cody adds. “They’re calm and cool.”

Despite parting with their animals, Cheyenne and Cody wouldn’t trade the 4-H experience for anything else.

“You get out of it what you put into it,” Jackie says. “It’s an everyday thing. We enjoy doing it together.”

Cheyenne wrote “Scherle” on duct tape to claim spots for her family’s five calves before the livestock meeting at the Dubois County 4-H Fairgrounds in Bretzville on Monday.

Dubois County 4-H Fair Schedule

The Dubois County 4-H Fair officially kicked off Monday and runs through Friday; however, several events are slated for this weekend. Here’s the 4-H Fair schedule:

 

Monday

Donor of the day: German American

7 a.m.-9 p.m. Small animal building open, SAB

9 a.m. Goat show and showmanship, SC

5 p.m. 4-H fair grand opening celebration, EB1 and EB2

5-9:30 p.m. 4-H and open class exhibit buildings open, EB1 and EB2

6 p.m. Poultry, ducks and turkey show, SAB

6 p.m. Swine show and showmanship, SC

6:30 p.m. Junior and Senior English horse show, HPA

6-8 p.m. Quilt exhibit, CP

6-9:30 p.m. Commercial exhibits open, CmB

6-10 p.m. Carnival rides, MW

7 p.m. Brandt Carmichael, FS

 

Tuesday

Donor of the day: Rural King

7 a.m.–9 p.m. Small animal building open, SAB

5-9:30 p.m. 4-H and open class exhibit buildings open, EB1 and EB2

5:30 p.m. Public speaking and demonstrations, CP

6 p.m. Sheep show and showmanship, SC

6-9:30 p.m. Commercial exhibits open, CmB

6-10 p.m. Carnival Rides, MW

6-9 p.m. Caricature, GPT

6 p.m. Face painting, GPT

6:30 p.m. Junior gaming horse show, HPA

7 p.m. Kiddie pedal pull, CP

7:30 p.m. Talent night, FS

 

Wednesday

Donor of the day: Superior Ag

7 a.m.-9 p.m. Small animal building open, SAB

1 p.m. Beef showmanship, SC

2 p.m. Cat judging, CP

5 p.m. Beef show, SC

5-9:30 p.m. 4-H and open class exhibit buildings open, EB1 and EB2

6 p.m. Leukemia Foundation, CP

6-9:30 p.m. Commercial exhibits open, CmB

6-10 p.m. Carnival rides, MW

6:30 p.m. Senior gaming horse show, HPA

6:30 p.m. Grupo Guanaco-Latino Music Act, FS

7 p.m. Robotics and project demonstration night, CP

7 p.m. Car and truck flat drag racing, GSA (admission, $10; no pit pass)

 

Thursday

Donor of the day: Dubois REC

6:45-9 a.m. 4-H fishing contest, CP/South Lake

7 a.m.-9 p.m. Small animal building open, SAB

9 a.m. 4-H dog obedience judging and agility, CP/agility course

12:30 p.m. Supreme livestock showmanship, SC

5-9:30 p.m. 4-H and open class exhibit buildings open, EB1 and EB2

5-7 p.m. Family fun night, CP

6-9:30 p.m. Commercial exhibits open, CmB

6 p.m. WBDC cornhole tourney of champions

6-10 p.m. Carnival rides, MW

6-9 p.m. The Hiding, FS

5:30 p.m. Celebrity livestock showmanship, SC

7 p.m. Tug of war, GSA (4-H and open)

 

Friday

Donor of the day: Blesch Bros. Equipment

Senior day: Age 55 and older

7 a.m.- 9 p.m. Small animal building open, SAB

9 a.m.-noon Senior (55-plus) activities, EB1 and EB2

9 a.m.-noon 4-H and open class exhibit buildings open, EB1 and EB2

5-9:30 p.m. 4-H and open class exhibit buildings open, EB1 and EB2

5 p.m. 4-H awards ceremony, CP

6-9:30 p.m. Commercial exhibits open, CmB

6 p.m. Horse and pony fun show, HPA

6-10 p.m. Carnival rides, MW

6-9:30 p.m. Commercial exhibits open, CmB

6:30 p.m. Cloggers performance, CP

7 p.m. ATV flat drag racing, GSA (admission, $10; no pit pass)

 

Saturday

Donor of the day: Boberg Crop Insurance

6-11 a.m. Animal check-out by species, livestock and barn areas

8 a.m.–1 p.m. 4-H and open class exhibition check-out, EB1 and EB2.

6 p.m. Lawnmower and car demolition derby, GSA (admission, $10; pit pass, $20)

Monday, July 23

4:30-7:30 p.m. 4-H and open class exhibition check-out, EB1 and EB2.

 

Upcoming events

Sunday, July 29: Noon, motocross racing; 9 a.m., registration ($10 admission, no pit pass).

Saturday, Aug. 11: Donor of the day, Jasper Engines & Transmissions; 5 p.m., truck and tractor pull (check-in beginning at 1 p.m.); $5 admission. Rain date: Sunday, Aug. 12, at 1 p.m. (check-in beginning at 10 a.m.)

 

Event locations

AFO: Annex/Fair Office

GSA: Grandstand Arena

CP/CPO: Clover Pavilion/Office

HPA: Horse and Pony Arena

CmB: Commercial Building

IF: Implement Field

CtB: Cattle Barn

MW: Midway

EB1: 4-H Exhibit Building

SAB: Small Animal Building

EB2: 4-H and Open Class Exhibit Building

SC: Show Corral

ShB: Sheep Barn

FS: Free Stage

SwB: Swine Barn

GPT: Gathering Place Tent

TBA: To Be Announced




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