Successful showing; area family flourishes again at county fair
Farming has been a big part of the Peter and Lisa Coyne family in Spring Valley.
"On our dad's side, they've been pretty active in the dairy industry, while our mom's side operated a cash crop farm," said Willie, the couple's middle child.
Added Brian, the couple's oldest child: "We grew up in the barn. When Willie and I were young, we had cribs in the barn. It's been kind of installed in us."
So, it shouldn't have come as a surprise to see Brian, Willie and their younger sister, Rachel, at the Pierce County Fair last weekend in the cattle barn showing off their prized possessions.
The trio was looking to duplicate their success from the 2007 Fair, at which Brian, 19, was grand champion, supreme and senior champion in his class, Willie, 17, was junior, senior, supreme and grand champion in his class, while Rachel, 10, was a junior champion.
"It's been something we wanted to do since we're kids," Willie explained about showing. "The last two to three generations in our family have showed."
Added Rachel, who has been showing since she was three: "It is fun coming to these shows and seeing people I haven't seen in years."
Brian explained the family's secrets.
"It's about hard work and the initiative of taking it to the next level," he said, as they estimated they spend about two hours a day, seven days a week, practicing. "Practice really makes perfect."
All that practice doesn't occur without a few mishaps. The three explained that they've all been dragged by a cow, but have been unharmed.
"Sometimes it's hard to contain a 1,500 pound animal," Willie said.
But, as Brian explained, once you reach the stage he has with Jade, a Spring Yearling born in March 2007, it's pretty good.
"I have been around her since she was two-weeks-old," he explained. "She's now like a little puppy dog. She knows my behaviors because we've been around each other all this time."
The trio has belonged to the Olivet Otters 4-H Club since moving to the Spring Valley area from Eau Claire in 2000. While in Eau Claire, Peter and Lisa had 300 cows on their farm.
"It's kind of hard to focus on showing with that many cows." Brian explained.
Now, their farm consists of 11 acres, with no milking cows, and is more of a hobby farm with an emphasis on showing.
Besides the Pierce County Fair, Brian and Willie explained they've shown at the Wisconsin State Fair, while Rachel has shown at the Colfax fair, and sheand Brian have showed at the local district fair.
The Pierce County Fair was Brian's last fair showing on the junior level due to age requirements.
"I'm going to miss it next year because it's been a huge part of my summer," he said. "Everyone has to move on eventually."
However, Brian did have one final successful run at the Pierce County Fair. He won his class and repeated as Junior Champion. The 2008 fair was good for Willie and Rachel as well. Willie won his class and Rachel finished second in hers.
Both Brian and Willie said they're planning on careers in the agriculture field. Brian will be starting his sophomore year at UW-Madison, majoring in Dairy Science. Willie is an upcoming senior at Spring Valley High School and is currently undecided on what area of agriculture he wants to study.