The Iowa State Fair kicks off today, and a rural Colo family will be among the many Iowa families who have made the state fair a tradition.

Karla and Ryan McCollom, with their son, Quin, 11, and daughter Bailee, 9, stay really busy caring for and showing cattle, but also make time for the rides, the food and all the other things that go along with the Iowa State Fair.

Other than 2007, when she didn’t attend the fair because she was nine months pregnant with Quin, Karla said, “I have been going to the fair every year. I never did show (livestock) as a child. I just loved going to the fair.”

What she has always loved most about the state fair, Karla shared, is the atmosphere of it. “It’s a place we see friends we haven’t seen for a long time; watch all the kids, especially our own, show their livestock they have worked so hard on all year; enjoy the food, and of course, do some ‘people watching’.”

The McCollom kids love amusements like the slide and the sky glide, and they love hanging out with all their friends from around the state, whom they have met through showing cattle.

When it comes to the fair treats, Karla admitted, “We can’t go (to the fair) without having a lemonade, cheese curds, a shake at the AE Barn and visiting the rib shack.”

This year will be extra-special for the McCollom family, as Quin has been chosen to show his steer, named Trump, in the Governor’s Charity Steer Show. “Quin was selected by DeeZee Manufacturing,” his mother said.

She explained that there are several companies that sponsor steers for the Governor’s Charity Steer Show and all the money raised goes to a great cause — the Ronald McDonald House. Along with showing, Quin gets to visit the Ronald McDonald house one morning during the fair to do community service and to talk with patients and families there. He then gets to have lunch with Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds.

“It is such a great cause and experience for the kids,” Karla said, adding that every steer also has a celebrity, who shows the animal along with the owner. Showing with Quin will be Daniel Robison, Dean of Ag and Life Sciences at Iowa State University.

Both of the McCollom kids are involved in showing cattle this year.

Quin, who started showing cattle in 2016, won Reserve Overall Breeding Heifer at the county fair last year. This year, he won Reserve Overall Market Animal and Champion Heavy Weight Steer. He also showed sheep and pigs last year, but this year just did pigs, along with cattle.

Bailee has shown cattle at the state fair for two years. Last year she won Champion Maintainer Heifer at the Maine-Anjou Open Show and the year before she won Reserve Champion Maintainer Heifer.

Karla said both of her children have made many friends at the state fair, mostly through showing cattle, as the families all get to know each other. To make the fair even more fun, the McCollom family began camping at the State Fairgrounds four years ago.

“We have met so many great people through showing livestock and being at the fair, but most importantly we have made many family memories and can’t wait to make more,” Karla said. “Our kids love to show livestock and getting to do that at the Iowa State Fair, I think, will always be a part of our lives.”

If you would like to learn more about the Governor’s Charity Steer Show, visit the Iowa Cattlemen Association’s website: