MARQUETTE - With the Marquette County Fair fast approaching, many kids involved in Marquette County 4-H are getting ready for show day.For the Hohman family of Skandia, it's time to kick it into gear, getting their horses, hogs and lambs ready before the fair begins Aug. 8.
Emma Hohman, 17 and a senior at Gwinn High School, is the self-professed "driving force" in her family when it comes to animal husbandry, convincing her parents to buy a horse, then hogs then lambs.
"My mom grew up with horses," Hohman said. "She knew the work involved with it."
Emma Hohman, 17, practices moving her red pig at her home in Skandia Township earlier this month, in preparation for the Marquette County Fair. (Photo courtesy of Stacy Hohman)
Clarie Hohman, 13, pauses for a photo with her horse during the Upper Peninsula Horse Association Horse Show held at the Marquette County Fair Grounds June 30. (Photos courtesy of Stacy Hohman)
Emma Hohman, 17 and her sister Claire, 13, ride together during the horse show. (Photos courtesy of Stacy Hohman)
So, Hohman said, when she asked her parents, Stacy and Steven Hohman if she could have a horse, they were initially wary.
"I had horses growing up and I told her, 'It's never going to happen. When you move out you can have horses,'" Stacy Hohman said. "And I don't know what happened. We lost our minds three years and and we said sure."
So Emma found herself with a horse, and soon, so did younger sister Claire Hohman, 13.
From there, Emma said she began growing an interest in showing hogs, since many of her friends were already involved and had shown animals in previous fairs.
Soon after that, Emma and Claire began showing hogs and lambs in the county fair.
"It's been lots of fun," Emma said.
Claire said she enjoys being involved in 4-H in general, and really enjoys showing animals.
"It's really fun and makes you feel close to the community. I really like it," Claire said. "(Showing animals is) good for money for college and it's just nice to give the animals a good home."
Both girls said they've been steadily improving since first showing animals in the Marquette County Fair two years ago, learning the skills sets necessary to win.
"My first year, I was really nervous because I didn't know what I was doing at all. I was just like, 'My pig's fighting with other pigs and I don't know what to do,'" Emma said. "Last year, I got better because I knew what to expect ... you just kind of learn as you go."
Claire said it's standing in front of the crowd that makes her the most nervous.
"It's kind of scary to compete against other people, and with the judge looking at you and all that," Claire said.
But both girls said learning how to raise the animals and care for them properly has been a great learning experience and credited their 4-H leader, Mary DeVooght, as a big help along the way.
"It's a good learning process," Emma said.
Stacy Hohman said the 4-H program has been good for her daughters, and said she's even learned a thing or two about raising livestock herself.
"It's been wonderful, it's been a great project," Stacy said. "They're good kids, and I think if you go to the fair and you talk with any of the 4-H kids that are there in the livestock barn, you're going to meet some amazing kids."
The Marquette County Fair takes place from Aug. 8-11 at the Marquette County Fairgrounds located along M-553 in Sands Township.
Jackie Stark can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242.