Fair 2023 – Friday, August 18

Fair | Episode
Aug 18, 2023 | 55 min

Fair Highlights for Friday, August 18 include:

  • Veterans Parade
  • Fair Prep — Food Contests
  • Cookout Contest
  • 4-H Steer
  • Chess Tournament
  • Rubber Chicken Throwing 
  • Horseshoes
  • Fair Architecture History
  • Silent Movie
  • Horses — Belgians and Shires
  • Beard Growing Contest
  • Son Peruchos Concert, Part 2


[Announcer] Funding for Fair 2023 is brought to you by Friends. the Iowa PBS Foundation and by:

For more than 110 years, EMC Insurance companies have served policyholders, independent agents, and local communities. providing Insurance products for both business and life. Count on EMC. 

My name is Cara Hayden. I'm super passionate about Animal Welfare. There's a lot of pigs that rely on me to train their caregivers. What we focus on in our training is encouraging our caregivers to understand that what they think and what they do matters. 

[Announcer] Iowa PBS presents Fair 2023. Here is your host Bill Riley.

Hey, it's Friday night. It's time to relax and recharge and enjoy the Iowa State Fair. I'm Bill Riley. We're swinging into the final moments of Fair 2023. But there's still so much more to see. You know, a lot of people come to the fair in pursuit of a blue ribbon. Tonight, we're going to explore what it takes to win. To raise a grand champion steer, it takes a lot of care, grooming and showmanship. For the chess tournament, it's precise planning and cool composure. And for the rubber chicken, strength, metal focus. I don't know about that. I just go with a whole bunch of good luck. Whatever it is, it's going to be a lot of fun. We've got another full hour of highlights ready to roll on Iowa PBS, including the annual Iowa State Fair Veterans Parade. It is always a privilege to honor those who have served our country.

[Brooke Kohlsdorf] Honoring those who served is an annual tradition here at the Iowa State Fair. 100 entries and over 1,000 participants will travel up the Grand Concourse. A beautiful day for a beautiful Iowa tradition.

[Major General Stephen Osborn] I think we've always got to recognize those that volunteer to serve our country. At this point in time a lot of those that served in the hard years, Korea, Vietnam, World Wars, they're passing. They are moving forward. It is respect.

[Jackie Schmillen] It is my great honor and privilege at this time to introduce you to our esteemed grand marshal for today's parade. Ladies and gentlemen give it up for Mr. Herb Spencer. Now Herb is a true American hero. Having voluntarily enlisted in the Army on October 12, 1952. Following basic training and graduation from leadership school at Fort Leonard Wood, Herb bravely served our country in Korea from April 1953 until September of 1954 as part of a Combat Engineer Battalion. And as you can very clearly hear ladies and gentlemen, your 34th Army Band of the Iowa Army National Guard. 

Commanded by Warrant Officer William Scheidecker and First Sergeant Treg Marcellus. Today's drum major is Staff Sergeant Jason Glass. The 34th Army Band is stationed in Fairfield, Iowa and is the official military band for the state of Iowa. Proudly parading behind them is the joint Color Guard. Ladies and gentlemen, carrying the garrison flag on behalf of the Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs is Wells Fargo's military veterans organization, Connections Employee Resource Network. 

Check this out. A trailer that is a replica of the USS George Washington Carver SSBN 656, which was built and commissioned in 1966 in Newport News, Virginia. Decommissioned in 1993 in Bangor, Washington. The person on the submarine is Jerry L. Stockbower, ET1SS retired. He was part of that commissioning crew back in 1966. It is not a parade without the Mackenzie Highlanders Pipes and Drums of Iowa and Scottish American Military Society Post 1846. 

[Brooke] The parade is an opportunity to honor Iowa veterans, but also recognize their families and the organizations that help them during and after their time in the service. 

(Singing the Star Spangled Banner)

[Regina Pirtle] Nice Toss. Whoa, whoa, whoa. This is a contest that involves women only. We usually draw large crowds. It started out as a rolling pin contest. That became dangerous. The rolling pins were hard, and they were going great distances. We decided that we didn't want anyone or anything injured. And decided, we needed to find something that was a little easier, softer that we could still toss and somehow the rubber chicken came about. You must throw them by the body not the neck, not the leg, by the body. You cannot go over the the line. Aim for that big tree. Please, aim for the big tree. 

[Regina] We have different age groups. 16 through 50 and 51 through endless. You know, to whatever that-- eternity. She did it.

[Akia Taplin] I had not heard about it before. I heard about the cow chip, but not the rubber chicken. It seemed like a fun thing to do. Just a random thing that sounds very much like state fair. Well, I was a thrower in college shot, discus and hammer. My boyfriend and his family were like, "Of course you'll be good at this. Just go try it. Just go throw a chicken."

[Regina] Okay, well you were out of bounds and you stepped over the line. So now you know all the rules not to break. Next year, you'll be right on target.

[Akia] I will.

[Regina] Okay, thank you though for participating.

[Akia] It's not as easy as I thought it was. I wasn't exactly sure how to hold it, but it was still fun. 

[Woman] Someone comes up to the plate to throw. You are like, "Oh, this could be the one that just launches it." And so, you never know. Everyone has a different strategy for how they do it. I never know who is going to be able to throw it very far.

[Regina] Nice for height.

[Woman 2] It was nice for height.

[Jae Wilson] I had never heard about it. Then, randomly did it one year with my mom. That was 2 years ago. I have wanted to come back and do it ever since. My husband was actually gone for about two weeks before this, and he had bought and mailed me a rubber chicken to practice for the upcoming weeks. We actually were throwing it back and forth this morning to practice for the competition. 

[Regina] I like the spirit of the ladies. They are happy. They are competitive, and they are excited when they win. The first place is a ribbon and $5, which isn't enormous but it's great to them. It's a title that they can wear proudly. With 71 feet, can you believe that? 71 feet, Jae Wilson.

[Jae] We are definitely gonna go celebrate.

[Dana Lain] People have been playing chess for almost 1,500 years. It is the most widely played game and oldest around the world. Today, right here at the state fair. Iowa's brightest chess players are gathered to match wits in this ancient game of strategy. 

[Dana] There are high school, junior high and elementary divisions in this tournament. Tell me a little bit about this tournament here at the fair.

[Jim Freerksen] This happens every year on the Wednesday of the fair. Around 3 o'clock. That is when the kids come out and play. Then all ages are invited to play around 5pm. It keeps growing more and more. There are some people that are hooked on it. They come back every year. They can't wait for the State Fair Tournament, and it continues to grow. It really has been amazing. When I first started doing it, sometimes we'd be lucky to get a handful of people. Now it is to the point where I'm having to ask for more tables. I'm happy to see that. 

[Dana] What's your favorite part about chess?

[Child] How stupid some people can be with moves, because it's just funny.

[Boy 1] Did you just move that?

[Boy 2] No.

[Dana] What is one secret you would tell somebody about chess?

[Boy 3] Not many people know this technique, but it's called the Windmill Technique. It's where you take out your rook and take out all the other piece of pieces.

[Dana] Oh, Wow. Does that usually get you the win?

[Boy 3] Usually.

[Dana] What are you doing here today at the fair?

[Jennie Enloe] I'm here celebrating chess. Our son is over here competing. We are really excited to watch him play.

[Dana] Can you tell us what your secret move is?

[Anthony Zachar] It is called the Fried Liver. It's where you just take it early. Forfeit the queen and the rook and win a lot of material after eight moves.

[Dana] And, how did you do?

[Anthony] Pretty good I think. 4-0 and won the blue ribbon.

[Dana] Congratulations. What is your one secret when you are playing chess?

[Boy 4] When I'm white, I do the Double Knights opening. It is where you put both your knights in the middle and then both your pawns and then both your rooks.

[Dana] So, how long have you been playing chess?

[Shea Hermon] Probably 5 years.

[Dana] And how long have you been playing chess?

[Gabby Hermon] Probably ever since he started to.

[Dana] Did you guys play each other a lot?

[Gabby] Yeah.

[Dana] What is something you would say to a new chess player getting into the game?

[Gabby] Practice a lot. Every once in a while I have a break. I figured out having breaks can help a lot. Just play a lot and practice.

[Dana] Congratulations, to everyone who took part in the Iowa State Fair Chess Tournament.

[Bill] Tonight's trivia comes to us from the south end of the fairgrounds. How much bedding is hauled away each year from the fair and where does it go? That's a good question, and it's one of those things you really don't think about unless you've spent some time cleaning the barns. We'll bring in the answer a little later in the show. First we're going to introduce you to Phil Dicks, an organizer who plans a lot of the competitive events in the food department. 

Hi, everybody. My name is Phil Dicks. I want to welcome all of you to the downtown part of the empty Elwell Center. It is just starting to come alive. Like the heartbeat of the fair. The reason is because this place is usually filled for thousands of people that are coming to see all the awards, all the foods, all the prizes. It is about to happen again. We are excited to have you here. What we're going to experience in the next few days, here at the fair. People start to enter at certain designated times. As you see, the judging arenas have already been set up and ready to go. The desks for all the important people are in place. And now, we're at a point where we're just getting ourselves ready for those first entries to come in. Those entries begin right away. We'll be checking in each of their items to make sure they've met the qualifications that we have here at the fair. For example sometimes if people use raw eggs, we have to disqualify. Sometimes if people are canning and they put the wrong altitude where they can their food, they can be disqualified. Not enough head space in the cans. They're disqualified. What we do do is have people come here at the fair and have an opportunity in order to let them win a prize, a ribbon. To experience the exhilaration of being said, You are the best in the state of Iowa.

[Volunteer] A small amount this year, 52.

[Phil] For us, the real excitement begins about four days before the fair. That is when we have the professional cake bakers. We also have other categories where we have first timers that are coming in. These are people who are young persons, children, youth who are coming in order to have their cakes also judged in that process.

[Chloe Nissen] It took about 4 hours. I have always liked the rocks, and I thought the water idea was a good idea

[Phil] The second big round that we have is when we have all of the canned goods from Iowa come. There are hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of canned goods that come. That is the reality check. That is when you know the fair is actually started, when you start seeing hundreds and hundreds of jars. Sometimes by just one entrant who comes. Who has been working all year.

[Dr. Rod Zeitler] Well there's 179 entries. That's how many canning classes there are. It is fun and people like what I do. I give it away. It is a good hobby.

[Volunteer 2] But oh my goodness.

[Phil] We love first timers.. Because first timers are the people who are experiencing the mystique and the majesty of the fair for the very first time.

[1st time contestant] Is this for me, right now?

[Volunteer] It is for you right now.

[Contestant] Oh, Thank You.

[Phil] That is why we award a special yellow ribbon to all first time entries. We want them to have a positive experience. More than once, we've had people who have come here to the fair. They have a cake or a beautiful pie or something they put together, and somehow all of a sudden it gets smashed. Sometimes you lose some of the coating. You see people go through a transformation. That is where it all took place. I remember the first time I came to the fair. Arlette Hollister was one of the heads of the fair. I brought in nine jars of barbecue sauce, and she said to me are you going to enter those all in the fair? I said, yes. When I went up to the table they said to me, You can only enter one jar in one contest, sorry. Then, I had a tap on my shoulder. with It was Arlette Hollister. She said, Come with me. She said, What did you put in this barbecue sauce? I said honey. She said, we will entered it in the honey contest. That's what we'll do, then. What did you put in this one? I told her it was the cherry. We'll enter it in the cherry contest, no problem. And that hooked me. I decided when I retired, I want to come to this place; and I wanted to be one of those first-timers. But I want to give back this time. That is what it is all about. The tradition of the Iowa State Fair mixed with the food and the love for food that people have. Those are the memories that go far beyond a ribbon or a trophy or anything else anyone could win.

[Travis Graven] All you have to do is follow your nose to the Grand Concourse, today for the annual cookout competition. The grills. The Smokers. They are full of beef, pork, poultry, turkey and lamb. As these talented cooks compete to become the grand champion.

[Tim Schneider] We call them muffin pan chicken thighs. Now you mentioned how good they look. How do they taste? Oh they taste great. We should win. Never trust a skinny cook. You know they haven't sample them. They have no clue. We have sampled it. I have sampled. I know it is good.

[Stoney Wood] Today, I'm making pork ribs.

[Travis] And what is the process to make those?

[Stoney] It takes about 4 and a half to 5 hours.

[Travis] Now is the best part eating what you make at the end?

[Stoney] Yes the best part easily is eating.

[Stormy Falkner] We have been here since about 1:00am.

[Travis] Oh, Boy. That is dedication.

[Stormy] Yes, but it's kind of a once in a lifetime opportunity to come to the state fair and cook barbeque.

[Travis] So, What is the secret to the brisket?

[Jason Morris] Prayers. It's only my second one I cooked. It's prayers and just having fun. I'm just here. It's my first one. I'm here just learning. Trying to see how everything operates. I might not make it this year; but next year, I'll give her all she got.

[Kamie Helmke] Today, I'm making some pork chops that I raised on our farm. And also, some fresh strawberry salsa.

[Travis] So you raised the pig yourself.

[Kamie] Yes. My neighbors, they caught it and they brought it to me. It was one that had gotten loose. They said, Hey we can't take care of it. Can you? I said, Oh yes. Dad can we, please get this? And my dad said, Yes. We made a whole pen in the barn, and I took care of it for a while until it was time for butchering. Now we get to eat the pork chops. So that is good.

[Travis] Any secrets that you can divulge to us?

[Tim] Oh, I can't. I'd have to kill you if I told you. We need you. (laughter)

[Jason] It is going right in. Okay. I got something. I got something out of there. I got a umm. That is better than nothing.

[Travis] That almost melted in my mouth.

[Jason] Hey well. Don't tell the ladies that. (laughter)

[Brad Magg] I like to look for who did the meat justice. What did they -- It is not the fanciest technique or the fanciest flavors. It's letting the meat be the true star and shining through. To showcase what these wonderful producers have made.

[Grilling contestant] Rubbing smoke on it, only. No need for that other stuff. When you treat the meat with respect it will treat you back.

[Travis] You are from Texas. You know good barbecue.

[Jacob Bellman] Yes, sir. Got to. It's in my DNA.

[John Jackson] Everybody out here is doing whole primulas. They're doing bonus pork loins, pork butts, ribs. I want to do something people don't necessarily think of. Just like when you go to a barbecue, you don't think of a bacon wrapped handball per se.

[Announcer 3] Now the moment, we have all been waiting for. The grand champion of Iowa Farm Bureau's Cook Off contest. From Webster County, Ryan Friesth. (applause)

[Paul Yeager] It is 4-H Steer Show day at the Iowa State Fair and the animals are getting the final touches put on. Here out of Benton County, the Schanbacher family is checking every last hair, every last detail. To get into the ring to find out, who is the best in the state here at the Iowa State Fair.

[Paul] Tell me about your relationship with Wreck-it Ralph. How long have you spent with him?

[Claire Schanbacher] I've spent about a year with him. I wash him twice today,

[Paul] So, what's being done now? Because, you are keeping Ralph calm as he spits on you.

[Claire] Yeah. I'm keeping him calm by scratching. So he doesn't move his feet while they are trying to vet him.

[Paul] What is it that you like about showing?

[Claire] I think it is really fun. Just to spend time with them and go to shows. It's a good experience, I think.

[Announcer 4] There's been some close decisions here today. But I like the young lady here in the third class. Congratulations.

[Paul] Callie is from Plainfield, Iowa. Pretty good morning for you, so far. What did you win?

[Callie Jensen] Grand Champion Angus Steer at the Iowa State Fair.

[Paul] Expectations are fun. Did you have high expectations for Rocky?

[Callie] Yes. I did.

[Paul] Why is that?

[Callie] Because he got reserved at Junior Nationals. He has been winning everywhere else, except for one place. Yeah, he has been really good to me.

[Paul] Is working with an animal work, or is there a little bit of fun too?

[Callie] I say it's work, but you can have fun with it also. It's fun getting up and washing him, blowing him. Then sometimes, I just go sit with him in the barn

[Paul] What is it like showing at the Iowa State Fair?

[Callie] It is very intense, but it's a fun.

[Paul] You could hear what the judge was saying. You have taken Rocky to various places. Are judges saying some of the same things about Rocky?

[Callie] Yeah. They are a lot.

[Paul] What are they saying?

[Callie] That he is very massive on his top Line because he is an Angus steer. There is no crossbred in him. He is very massive.

[Paul] Your demeanor is impressive on how calm you are. Do you exhibit this all the time, or are you just putting on a show for Rocky to keep him calm?

[Callie] I try and keep him calm sometimes because otherwise he gets antsy. He keeps me calm too.

[Paul] What about your family? Who is here? Who helps? What are they all doing?

[Callie] Right now, my mom is washing my steer so I can show him again. My brother is helping. So is my dad. I have grandparents and aunts here.

[Paul] And now, it's time for the main event. The final drive to find the best 4-H steer in Iowa. The best of each breed our announced. Put through their final paces. And the selection is made. 14 year old Mason Schall of Riverside is your grand champion.

[Paul] What'd you think when the judge came over to you?

[Mason] It was a big honor and I'm excited. 

[Bill] Did you win a ribbon at the fair this year? Congratulations. Here are some of the lucky and talented winners.

Cookout Contest - Beef

  • 1st Place - Ryan Friesth, Fort Dodge
  • 2nd Place - Sarah Cruise, Olin

Cookout Contest - Lamb

  • 1st Place - Jesus Ojeda, Johnston
  • 2nd Place - Ryan Justice, Vinton

Cookout Contest - Pork

  • 1st Place - Mitch Schmitz, Lost Nation
  • 2nd Place - Ben Zehr, Keswick

Cookout Contest - Poultry

  • 1st Place - Rob Carson, West Point
  • 2nd Place - Richard Bishop, Granger

Cookout Contest - Turkey

  • 1st Place - Theresa Jones, Hubbard
  • 2nd Place - Alan Schroeder, Dubuque

Cookout Contest - Youth

  • 1st Place - Stoney Wood, Corydon
  • 2nd Place - Kamie Helmke, Dumont

Beard Growing Contest - Longest Beard

  • 1st Place - Harold Stephenson, Center Point
  • 2nd Place - Marc Van Danselaar, Pella
  • 3rd Place - Edward Donaldson, St. Charles

Beard Growing Contest - Best Groomed

  • 1st Place - Eric Nicolaysen, Des Moines
  • 2nd Place - Adam Johnson, Dyersville
  • 3rd Place - Mark Kerndt, Waukon

Beard Growing Contest - Most Unique

  • 1st Place - Adam Johnson, Dyersville
  • 2nd Place - Brian Dedecker, Adel
  • 3rd Place - Doc Fox, Des Moines

Beard Growing Contest - Most Historic

  • 1st Place - Doc Fox, Des Moines
  • 2nd Place (Tie) - David Humes, Moline, IL
  • 2nd Place (Tie) - Jerry Landgrebe, Newton
  • 3rd Place - Jason Ramsey, Dubuque

Beard Growing Contest - Best Design With Costume

  • 1st Place - Jason Ramsey, Dubuque
  • 2nd Place - Tim Smith, Cambridge
  • 3rd Place - Alan Dietzenbach, Marshalltown

My Best Fruit Pie

  • 1st Place - Gail Marske, Clive
  • 2nd Place - Nicole Moritz, Bettendorf
  • 3rd Place - Jansen Petersen, Knoxville

Authentic European Bohemian-Style Kolaches

  • 1st Place - David Maixner, Ankeny
  • 2nd Place - Marianne Carlson, Jefferson
  • 3rd Place - Claire Gilbert, West Des Moines

Youth Spelling Bee - 1st and 2nd Grades

  • 1st Place - Ashvika Karwal, Cedar Falls
  • 2nd Place - Christoper Bloomhuff, Eldridge
  • 3rd Place - Aiden Behrens, Runnells

Youth Spelling Bee - 3rd and 4th Grades

  • 1st Place - Desmond Pearson, West Des Moines
  • 2nd Place - Coby Suhr, Raymond
  • 3rd Place - Kenslie Williams, Eddyville

Youth Spelling Bee - 5th and 6th Grades

  • 1st Place - Chloe Kinney, Holstein
  • 2nd Place - Daryn Gumm, Waterloo
  • 3rd Place - Sukhmun Chouhan, Johnston

[Bill] We're going to take a quick break; but don't go away, we've got more fair highlights for you. Like these. We'll be entertained by an old-time silent film. We'll see the power and grace of a house show. And we'll find out who has the finest whiskers in the beard growing contest. We'll see you right back here for more state fair fun on Iowa PBS. The competition. It only gets closer as the week goes on at the Riley stage. 

Here are some acts marching on. 

Sprout Champions

  • Michael Smith, 12, Waterloo, Vocal Solo
  • Katelynn Larson, 13, West Des Moines, Lyrical/Contemporary Solo

Senior Finalists

  • Elle Clark, 18, Humboldt, Vocal Solo
  • Mary Clare Matthews, 18, Ashlyn Herrig, 18, and Jordyn Linn, 17, Denison, and Elli Heiden, 17, Schleswig, Acro Dance Quartet
  • Lucy Gannon, 17, West Des Moines, Piano Solo
  • Claire Southard, 15, and Andre Johnson, 16, Des Moines, Contemporary Dance Duet

Don't forget. We'll bring you the talent championships here on Iowa PBS Sunday, August 20 at 8pm.

[Bill] Hey, we're back everyone, and just in time to head over to Pioneer Hall for a silent film; but it is not exactly silent.

[Marty Mincer] Today, I am here at the State Fair, the Iowa State Fair. I'm here to share with you ragtime piano and the silent Motion Picture talent of Harold Lloyd. Somebody got the idea that if you had a movie --. Well they didn't have sound. The first movies that came out, they didn't have the technology to have sound along with the movie. And so what you found out was, aha. If we have the motion picture, we can have somebody playing the piano or an orchestra making music. For example if you've got somebody. The hero comes in. Or the villain comes in. And the music would set the mood for what was going on the Silver Screen. Today, we are doing Get Out and Get Under. This is a Harold Lloyd classic. The title Get Out and Get Under was actually taken from a piece of music. (singing get out and get under, get out and get under) To fix up your automobile. They thought, hey let's do a picture with get out and get under. Because in the picture, he gets out and gets under to fix up his automobile. I'm just a musical background here. The real star is Harold Lloyd over there. Use your imagination, listen to the music, the music sets the mood. You walk away feeling, Hey. That was kind of neat. (music) (applause)

[Bill] Tonight, we're talking about our great State fair's historic buildings. When the fair moved to this location in 1886, they built 54 buildings including Pioneer hall right away. Most were made out of wood and required constant maintenance. By the turn of the 20th century the fair had decided. Well, it was time to make some improvements.

[Thomas Leslie] So the fair organizers realized that they basically had to up their game. And they first paved the streets which was a huge improvement. But then they also realized that the barns themselves had to go from being something that was temporary and just agricultural into something that was more permanent, more monumental. And that reflected the fact that even though this was an agricultural event, it was taking place in Iowa's largest city. The barns are mostly symmetrical. They are formal. When you walk into them,you might feel a little bit like you're walking into a county courthouse or something. Once you go inside the the barns, they are all about ventilation and light. They are all built with fairly cheap, metal roofing and structure. But the skin around the barns is brick and terracotta. The names of the barns are etched in limestone. A much more formal language of architecture, and one that really relates more to the fact that this is in Des Moines. It is in the the biggest city in Iowa. It is an urban event. That really helped take the fair from this collection of shacks on a muddy site into something that we recognize almost as an extension of the of the Des Moines street grid.

[Bill] The livestock Pavilion was the first example of this new standard of architecture on the fairgrounds.

[Thomas] It's an arena. It's a place where you're watching competition and it's some of the best entertainment at the fair. I think that's part of the the logic behind the livestock Pavilion that the fair did go from something that was very much about farmers comparing notes to something that people came to see that became more of a spectacle

[Bill] And then the agriculture building the most formal of the fair's brick buildings.

[Thomas] It has a really overly grand entrance that faces on to the fair's main intersection, and really celebrates the fact that what's going on in there is this really important thing for the state. The best of the state's agriculture is getting displayed and shown, and it's a monumental structure that really dignifies that.

[Bill] There was also the need for a large gathering spot that could seat thousands of people and be home to different kinds of spectacles, concerts, demonstrations and races. The grandstand became a focal point for the modernization of the fairground.

[Thomas] Originally, a timber structure. Like many of the other older structures on the fair, it deteriorated. proved inadequate for the crowds. And in the early 1900s, they built the center section of the grandstand. A steel structure that was designed to be curved both so that everyone had a good view of the finish line, and so that they could use it for concerts as a sort of an outdoor arena. In 1927, the grandstand got extended to its present length; and the steel structure was clad in this very monumental brick skin that was designed to be a memorial to Iowans who died in World War I. To me that's an interesting story. It goes from being this kind of a very rag tag event into something that really is one of the largest performance spaces, not only in Des Moines; but in the state.

[Ralph Davis] We use the fair as our state tournament in which we have mens, womens, juniors, cadets. All of our sanctioned players come to the fair. Plus, we try to promote new players by opening have an open class every day. Which anyone could play.

[Cooper Wiese] Over there is Pitch and Win. You pitch 2 shoes down and 2 shoes back. If you get 1 ringer down and 1 ringer back, you win one of those bikes over there. If you don't, then they count as points and you can win money and a ribbon.

[Emcee] I wanted to give one of those bikes away so bad. Good job.

[Cooper] I just help out. I show how you are supposed to hold it, and then I how you are supposed to release it.

[Steve Hatch] To keep the sport going. I feel very good about that. There is still people that surprisingly, don't know too much about it. If they get to pitching and if they have a little success at it, it kind of stimulates them.

[Cooper] Hopefully, some of them like it so much that they start pitching with us.

[Ava Sinnott] Well, it gives them something to do, and they can try something new, I guess. I've done practice before but this is my first year doing tournaments and stuff.

[Olivia Davidson] But if you are camping here, then it kind of just gets kind of boring. Because you're usually at the fair which is is fun. But if you're missing doing the sports that I want to do, then maybe you can try to come here and do horse throwing and stuff. 

[Ralph] I think it's history, to tell you the truth. It's just been something that's been here for years. 

[Steve] They used to pitch down by the sheep barn years ago. Well you got to realize during that time, and generation,  that was a pretty popular sport. 

[Ralph] It used to just be one of the biggest events for the farmers to come in. Because farmers used to play it at home and they would come here and participate, get a ribbon and compete. 

[Steve] I'll tell you what. This sport is anything you you want it to be. If you want to be a state champion and you work two or three hours a day out pitching at home or at your town court, you might be able to get there. If you want to just have a rec league and just have fun and socialize you can do that too. 

[Cooper] So this is my dad. He's pretty much been bringing me to the horse and stuff when I was little. He's pitching too so we're both in league and I love pitching against him because it's just fun and it's a battle.

[Ralph] I think that's what the fair is so nice about. Everybody gets to go home with something at least. They get to go home with a ribbon. They feel like they participated, and has a prize irregardless of where they finish.

[Bill Riley] So you think you might know the answer to tonight's trivia question? Let's see. The question was, "How much bedding is hauled away each year from the fair and where does it go?" Well an average of 1,600 tons of manure-laden bedding is hauled away each year and is applied as a natural fertilizer to several hundred acres of farmland.

[Noah Levy] The Iowa State Fair Belgian, Shire, Miniature Show will actually see close to 50 exhibitors across all three breeds. Between all of those exhibitors you're looking at about 200 horses. Several of our exhibitors are coming from a long way away. We've got as short as 10 miles and as many as 1200 actually. Wareing Shires is visiting us from Blackfoot, Idaho.

[Arlin Wareing] We've been in the Shire business for about 60 years and showing for over 50 years. A lot of our family travels with us. My son Wayne, his son Shawn and my great-grandson Madex. I'm Madex Howell. I'm the fourth generation and my great grandpa Arlin, he started bringing the shires over from England and that's how we started.

[Noah] Especially for the draft horses, they're driving those horses an average of four miles a day. It's a significant amount of interaction with those horses to get them ready for our showroom.

[Freeman Yoder] The Belgian Six Horse Hitch, any six horse hitch for that matter, what I'm looking for is when they come through the gate. I like to see a lot of front end, nice head sets and ears working and performance. As much leg action front and back as you can get. And power. You want them all powering on as much power as we can get and horse is eager to do that. We're looking for six that are working together as one unit and all have the same thing in mind and that's win the class. (Music)

[Roger Parulski] MHR is the American Miniature Horse Registry. The unders and overs are the height of the horse. The driving classes are all a little different. It's going to be two judges. They're going to get two sets of points. It's like they went to two shows but they're doing it in one place. That gives them a chance to build up points. Because they're all wanting to get enough points so they can go to nationals, and nationals is coming up in November. We each have to judge the class independently and then we turn our results in and they will announce their winners for judge A and for judge B. (Music)

[Freeman] In the Shire team, I'm going to be looking for a lot of presence. Elegance through the bridle by working their ears, paying attention, and motion front and back, a lot of the leg lift.

[Noah] We are for 10 years in a row now, the host of the National Shire Show. The National Shire Show is a part of the Belgian Shire Mini Show. It runs concurrently. So what that means is the classes that we offer here are part of that National Shire Show.

[Freeman] Walking around them for confirmation, you want to see big feet, nice clean feather and lots of it. Nice clean legs and well behaved horses. (Music)

[Roger] In the Western Country Pleasure Driving Class I'm looking for a horse that's more level. The head's not up as high. It almost looks like a flat line from the eye to the withers, to the back, right on through. They're low going, very collected and very pretty. Miniature horses are an actual breed of horse called Miniatures. They're not ponies. If they were ponies they'd be Shetlands or Welch or something like that. These are actually miniature horses.

[Katie Cook] Tonight there's going to be Belgians and Shires that are able to compete. I like to see a horse that's laid back, but a horse that enjoys his job. Something that's pleasurable. I feel like the Draft Horse Under Saddle is gaining popularity through all the breeds. It's a lot more horse. You've got, obviously a bigger seat, but when you get on one and you start riding them you can feel the the power and when they're loping you can just feel like you're riding on a rocking chair. It's so smooth and it's really fun. (Music) I'm Abby Brown at Pioneer Hall at the Beard Contest. There are several categories and I'm hoping that next year I might enter one. I have a feeling my only hope could be some magic potion, so I'm hoping I can pick up some tips and tricks.

I'm Abby Brown at Pioneer Hall at the Beard Contest. There are several categories and I'm hoping that next year I might enter one. I have a feeling my only hope could be some magic potion, so I'm hoping I can pick up some tips and tricks.

[Eric Nicholaysen] I realized this is quite exciting once you get past the painful, itchy phase.Which you do. And then after a year I started to trim it to keep it more well groomed and kept, because I don't want to look like it's coming to get you.

[Abby] What does it take to grow a beard like yours?

[Contestant] Uh, patience.

[Abby] Who spends more time in the bathroom in the morning?

[Eric] Okay, my spouse has made the comment that I take longer than her in the bathroom with the beard. It's true. But only when I have to wash and get it ready. It takes a little time. It's all right. I give it special attention.

[Abby] Tell me how do you get your beard groomed to perfection?

[Matt Sandel] The key for me is, I have to blow dry it and brush it every morning.

[Abby] Okay.

[Jerry Landgrebe] I do mine a little different a lot of people. I cut up here and here. And the main reason I do that is for cleanliness.

[Eric] But of course, there's the beard wash, you know? There's special shampoos for the beards. Then we're out of the shower and then we get the blow dryer and we get the round brush and we twist twist and we blow dry it down.

[Abby] How about any special potions?

[Harold Stephenson] Nope.

[Abby] Any special serums?

[Harold] No.

[Abby] Any magic at all?

[Harold] Nope.

[Abby] Sounds wonderful.

[Matt] And Oil.

[Abby] Oh oil, tell me about your potions.

[Matt] I just use a beard oil and wash and oil it every day.

[Abby] What kind of magic potion do you use?

[Adam Johnson] I make my own now.

[Matt]I put it in. I blow dry it. Put the oil in and then blow dry it again.

[Abby] What's the clock on that?

[Matt] Uh, it's longer than my wife.

[Abby] That's what I wondered.

Any other tips for me if I want to grow a beard?

[Adam] I don't know if I have one for that. Genetics will start it.

[Abby] I feel like if there's less on top, there's more down here. So maybe I can like switch things around?

[Adam] Yeah, if I could switch things I'd probably at least have a half a foot up there.

[Abby] And if I wanted to grow a beard, do you have any tips or tricks for me?

[Eric] You know, what I might just have to disappoint you. It doesn't look promising but you can find someone who has a nice beard or invite them to grow.

[Abby] Okay.

[Regina Pirtle] And first place, number 880.

[Bill Riley] Before we go, let's enjoy some more music and dancing with Son Peruchos. A diverse group of musicians from Des Moines and they've been playing together since 2017.

(Singing in another language)


[Bill Riley] And that wraps up another evening of Fair 2023. Thank you for spending your Friday night with us. And if you want to experience the show again log on to our website or our YouTube channel. You can find our full shows there. Our Facebook and Instagram pages, well they have loads of State Fair stories too. Both from the past and the present. Make sure you check it out. There's a variety of ways you can engage with us about our beloved State Fair anytime and anywhere. We'll be back again tomorrow night with a very special night of coverage which includes some traditional Saturday night favorites like the 4-H and FFA Sale of Champions and the earth-shaking intensity of the tractor pulls. Plus we'll learn all about what's involved in keeping up the beautiful State Fairgrounds. So don't miss it. The best state fair coverage around right here on Iowa PBS. Until tomorrow, I'm Bill Riley, have fun at the fair.


(Fair 2023 Credits Roll)

  • Host - Bill Riley
  • Executive Producer - Cameron McCoy
  • Producer - Theresa Knight
  • Editors/Production Assistants - Julie Knutson, Sean Ingrassia
  • Segment Producers - Judy Blank, Patrick Boberg, Dan Bolsem, Laurel Bower, Tyler Brinegar, Josh Buettner, Andrea Coyle, Travis Graven, Deb Herbold, Emily Kestel, Colleen Krantz, David Miller, John Torpy, Peter Tubbs, Paul Yeager
  • Videographers - Matt Clark, Darrin Clouse, Scott Faine, Eric Gooden, Kenny Knutson, Adam Welch
  • Editors - Neal Kyer, Kevin Rivers
  • Audio - David Feingold, Sean Ingrassia
  • Technical Director - Neal Kyer
  • Camera - Melanie Campbell, Sarah Currier, Joshua Woolcott
  • Engineer in Charge - Kevin Rivers
  • Field Reporters - Abby Brown, Travis Graven, Brooke Kohlsdorf, Dana Lain, Charity Nebbe, Blair Ryan, Aaron Steil, Paul Yeager
  • Motion Graphics - Brent Willett
  • Production Assistance - Tiffany Clouse
  • Production Supervisor - Chad Aubrey
  • Graphics - Kate Bloomburg, Joe Bustad
  • Creative Director - Alisa Dodge
  • Digital Team - Danny Engesser, Abby Friedmeyer, Randy Garza, Bryon Houlgrave, Emily Peterson
  • Communications Team - Caryline Clark, Matt Clark, Bo Dodge, Laura Noehren, Hayley Schaefer, Dan Wardell
  • Communications Manager - Sarah Lewis
  • Engagement Manager - Caryliine Clark
  • Programming & Operations Manager - Matthew McPike
  • Director of Communications - Susan Ramsey
  • Director of Emerging Media - Taylor Shore
  • Director of Programming & Production - Andrew Batt
  • Executive Director & General Manager - Molly Phillips

[Announcer] Funding for Fair 2023 is brought to you by Friends. the Iowa PBS Foundation and by:

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My name is Cara Hayden. I'm super passionate about Animal Welfare. There's a lot of pigs that rely on me to train their caregivers. What we focus on in our training is encouraging our caregivers to understand that what they think and what they do matters.