Dish soap always nearby at fair's show ringJul 29, 2015 By Randy Tucker, Staff Writer
What do oil spills, greasy clothes and show lambs have in common?
The answer: Dawn dish washing liquid.
In an informal survey of 4-H and FFA members and their parents, Dawn was the overwhelming choice for cleaning hogs, lambs, goats and cattle before entering the show ring at the Fremont County Fair.
There are several other products available to get that perfect shine to an animal's coat, but Dawn's ability to remove oil and dirt makes it a leader among fair participants.
"Takes grease out of your way," is the famous marketing slogan for the product, which is used to clean anything from dishes to animals and birds covered in petroleum from oil spills.
Longtime exhibitor Jess Oldham of Lander is showing lambs at the fair this year. He uses Dawn to clean his animals, but he also incorporates another product just before entering the ring.
"We use Woolite right before the show," Oldham said. "It makes them fresh and lightens up the coat."
The Anderson brothers, Jace and Jaemen of Riverton, use Tea Tree liquid soap mixed with water for their lambs.
Wind River FFA's Chesney Whitlock uses Dawn as well but also mentioned Show Bright Purple Soap as an alternative.
Hog showman Dane Whiteman of Riverton uses Dawn to clean his pigs before a swine show, but he had a comment on last-second preparations.
"Just shine them up with water before you go in," he advised.
Shoshoni FFA members Blake Fegler and J.J. Pingetzer show cattle and hogs, respectively.
"Use a little spray adhesive after they're cleaned up and ready," Fegler said. "It makes the hair shine and stand up."
There are rules in place that regulate use of shiny substances on pigs.
Pingetzer uses Sullivan's Hog Heaven prior to competition. The product is a combination of conditioner, mousse and stabilizer designed exclusively for swine.
Not all competitors use household cleaners or species-specific show products.
Rabbits are brushed, kept in clean cages and shown without additional chemicals.
Chickens often have their beaks, combs and wattles shined with Vaseline, but an age-old feather preparation technique takes place long before the show for many poultry: Digging up a red ant hill and shoveling the mix of insects and gravel into the poultry pen has a double benefit for fowl, as the gravel helps with digestion, and the ants provide a natural defense against lice, mites and other vermin, producing a brighter, healthier plumage on the birds.