EKKA 2013

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The last big event I went to before I left Australia was EKKA. EKKA can be compared to a state fair in America. They have a midway, livestock shows, and food. The only disappointing part is they don’t have the crazy fair food America does. In America, we fry and put everything on a stick. They most definitely don’t do that in Australia. Regardless, I was like a little kid in a candy store as soon as I walked through the gate. I was sooooo excited to be there! I was basically raised in barns traveling from fair to fair showing cattle, sheep and hogs. I was anxious to see the differences, if any.

I took a leisurely stroll through the carnival. Surprising, they have a lot of rides that we also have here in America. They also have this place where you can just buy bags of candy and random stuff. Below is a slideshow of the carnival.

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My mission while I was at EKKA was to watch the Brahman show. They didn’t have many entries, but they had some good quality cattle. Below are some pictures. The bull that’s in the bigger picture, notice his hump. I’ve seen a lot of humps in my life, but never one as big as his. It was huge! The picture of the two bulls in the bottom right is the grand champion drive and the older bull won. The cow/calf pair in the top right corner won grand champion female. Yes, those showing the cattle are wearing frocks. I’m not sure the reason behind it. One thing that came as a surprise to me was the quality of reasons the judge gave when placing the class. I’m used to a judge going over the good and bad things and there’s usually several for each calf. They also speak in a conversational style. Not in Australia. The reasons were very straight and to the point and I felt they would only talk about one or two specific things. It was a bit weird to listen to, for me.

After the Brahman show, I walked through the barns. It was somewhat of a surreal experience. I’ve grown up judging livestock and in some contests they make you do breed identification. So, ever since I was knee-high to a grasshopper I’ve been identifying breeds of cattle, of which some I’ve never seen before. Well, at EKKA that changed! I saw breeds of cattle in person I’d only ever seen in pictures. Plus a breed I’d never heard of before – Square Meaters. This breed is basically a Murray Grey but shorter and meater. In Australia, they have a breed called Droughtmaster which is similar to America’s Beefmaster. Simmentals are also their original red and white color, not solid black. Below is a slideshow. My apologies for the quality of the photos. Like an idiot, I forgot to charge my camera before I went and it died on me at the beginning of the Brahman show. So these photos were taken on my iPod.

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One thing I found interesting was about the barn set up. There’s these storage rafters above the stalls for breeders to keep feed, hay and tack. In the dairy barn, there were also storage rooms at each end of the aisle. Here’s also a picture of a typical truck and trailer.

Like I mentioned earlier, Australia doesn’t have the crazy fair food like America does, which was very disappointing because the food is one of my favorite parts about the fair! Especially to see what new concoctions concessionaires have whipped up.

The two food items I was told to get while at EKKA was a dagwood dog and a strawberry sundae. The dagwood dog is very similar to a corn dog. I’m not a fan of strawberries, so I only ate the strawberry ice cream and it was the best ice cream I’ve ever eaten in my life!!!!!!!!!

Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed myself while at EKKA. I was there for 6 hours and never had a dull moment!

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About Chelsey Ahrens

I currently work for the Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service in the Animal Science Department. I'm the Specialty Livestock/Youth Education Specialist. I have a Ph.D. in agricultural communications from Texas Tech, a master's in agricultural leadership from the University of Georgia, and a bachelor's in animals science from the University of Arkansas. I love all things agriculture, particularly livestock. I also like to bake, cook, can, sew, and play with my dog child, Shooter.

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