Big Animals

Fair | Clip
Aug 15, 2023 | 4 min

The annual contest to see which animals tip the scales at the 2023 Iowa State Fair.


[Blair Ryan] Here at the Iowa State Fair, a few things are guaranteed. Big fun, big food, big blue ribbons, and big animals. 

So who is this? And how did they get so big? 

[Abby Willson] His name is Rascal. And he just eats a lot of corn. He likes corn. 

[Blair] When did you know that this particular sheep was going to be enormous? 

[Abby] I got him a couple of years ago, and he just kept putting on weight. Then I thought that he would be the one to bring to the fair. 

[Blair] How much total in a day? 

[Abby] Probably 15 pounds of grain. And a quarter bale of hay. 

[Blair] If you had to eat Rascal's breakfast, how long would it take you? 

[Abby] Oh, forever. 

[Don Hummel] Nothing other than just weight. People will enter the rams ahead of time and bring them in. Then we'll go weigh them. And the biggest ram is the champion ram. 

[Blair] Who is responsible for this fine, large animal? 

[Carson Hoff] I am. 

[Blair] How did you get here today for the big sheep competition? 

[David Hoff] We had one a few years back, his dad, he was about 400. We ended up fourth that year. So he ain't quite there yet, but we're just going to have fun doing it. 

[Blair] Who is the big guy behind you today? 

[Jack Theobald] His name's Big Joe. 

[Blair] What goes into taking care of Big Joe? How did you get Big Joe so big?

[Jack] I gave him cake mix. Nursery feed. 

[Contest Emcee] Here's Big Joe. He's a 4 1/2-year-old by Jack and Jesse Theobald of Muscatine. Their farm name is Pork 360. 

[Blair] Tell me who you have here, your big animal. 

[Wilbur Kehrli] How do you pronounce that? 

[Blair] Sasquatch? 

[Wilbur] Yes. My son named him and that's his name. 

[Blair] If he had to run the State Fair 5K, how far do you think Sasquatch would make it? 

[Wilbur] It would take a little time, but he would make because he is good on his feet. 

[Blair] What is this event? 

[John Putney] Well, this is the Super Bull contest. I believe it's the 41st one. You know, it's become quite an event as you can see. All the people that are here already. 

[Contest Emcee] Here comes Mean Gene.

[John] Which it's just kind of a tradition at the state fair. 

[Emcee] 2,762 pounds. 

[John] My family had the first super bull 42 years ago. Subsequently we had, I don't know, five, six years ago, another super bull. He weighed about 2,900. Tonight we may see some larger than that. 

[John as Emcee] Mean Gene weighs 3,060 pounds. 

[Blair] What have we learned? Cake mix, grain, and really, any other snacks you have lying around the house are the key to raising a big animal if you want to be a big winner next year at the Iowa State Fair.