Local success at Iowa State Fair’s ‘Best Days Ever’

After 11 days of the “Best Days Ever” including top-caliber livestock, tasty food, concerts, fair queens, contests, and more, the 2023 Iowa State Fair ended it’s run on Aug. 20. Over 1.1 million fans flocked to the fair this year, making it the second biggest fair in its 169-year history.

The fair lived up to its theme of “Best Days Ever,” and several locals can attest to that given their success in the 11-day celebration of everything Iowan. Dayton Mortvedt, son of Ryan and Carrie Mortvedt of rural Sully, is still relishing in the success of his biggest ISF accomplishment to date. The 13-year-old, now in his third year of showing in the 4-H shows at the fair, and his lamb Poblano claimed the title of 2023 Grand Champion 4-H Market Lamb on Monday, Aug. 14.

Dayton and Poblano’s reign is the culmination of months of daily cleaning, exercise, and practicing, and a whole lot of love. Dayton started showing Poblano, who according to his mom “was always one of Dayton’s favorites,” this spring. From that point forward, Dayton spent hours every day washing and wrapping his sheep’s legs, and exercising and feeding them. Daily practice ensured the duo was working well together come show day. All of the love and devotion paid off when Dayton and Poblano received the celebratory pat on the back indicating their championship title. After the big win, Poblano spent the rest of the ISF living in the Hall of Champions. As a market animal, Poblano was sold during Saturday’s Sale of Champions. “It was a bittersweet day, definitely the hardest part of showing market animals,” said Carrie. “He formed such a bond with that sheep, saying goodbye is hard.”

Dayton and his family were busy the entire run of the 2023 fair, as he also showed other award-winning lambs and goats and spent any spare time cheering on friends showing in other barns. The family is no stranger to the busyness and excitement surrounding the 11-day famed event as Dayton is a fourth-generation exhibitor at the Iowa State Fair. Both of his parents, grandparents Gerald and Elaine Droppert and Bruce and Jo Mortvedt, and great-grandfather Walt Johnson all grew up loving livestock, the show ring, and being part of the Iowa State Fair as exhibitors and fans. Next up for the Mortvedt family is the Aksarben Stock Show in Grand Island and the American Royal Livestock Show in Kansas City where Dayton and the Mortvedt’s youngest son, Brock, will show sheep and goats.

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