COEUR d'ALENE - Kayla Dorame stood alert before the judging table, her fingers quick to nab the Silkie rooster that kept trotting away.
Just as the ribbons were announced, the rooster puffed its Vegas fluff feathers and crowed, Dorame pressing her hands to her face with a grin.
Opening day at the North Idaho Fair and Rodeo marked the judging of the Coeur d'Alene girl's first rooster, her first 4-H poultry entry ever.
And the 10-year-old's first blue ribbon for the division.
"Just hanging out with it," Kayla said of how to raise a prize show bird. "I'm proud of myself."
Another victory, her mother Nicole added: Their other Silkie, a hen, had hatched its first chick two hours before.
"(Kayla) just loves her chickens. She got the incubator for her birthday," Nicole said. "She's very shy and timid, and this has brought out her personality."
First-time experiences abounded at the Kootenai County fairgrounds on Wednesday. Crowds from across the region flocked to enter new competitions, test their courage on rides, their teeth on sugary fare.
It was a momentous day for CF Zany Zoey.
The Angus heifer swished her tail obligingly as an electric razor passed over her jet hide, prepping her for her first Lowline Cattle Show this weekend.
Plenty of time has been invested drilling the cow on how to stand and walk like a winner, said Jacqui Duran, a cattle raiser with Double D Lowlines in Athol.
"With cows, it's just a matter of repeating everything," Duran said, adding that, not too surprising, "cows are fairly easy to train."
The competitions are significant for the industry, said Rick Gosselin with Idaho Lowline Cattle Company in Hayden. A cow's performance determines its breeding career, he said.
Yeah, pretty important.
Not to mention, showing off the cattle is a chance to educate folks about their bovine brethren, Gosselin said.
"It's huge," he said of raising agriculture interest. "Anytime we get people excited about agriculture, which some think is a dying (industry), if we make one person aware, that's huge."
Gracen Haynes' teeth chomped through golden dough and tender meat in the midst of the food stands.
His grandma, Marla McCasland, nudged a bowl of ketchup toward the 3-year-old as he stuffed his first hand-dipped corn dog down the hatch.
"He loves it," McCasland said, noting that the Silver Valley toddler is far from picky.
It was also the first sticked meat for Gracen's younger brother, Kash, 1, who nibbled at deep-fried crumbs.
"Is this yummy? Is this your new favorite thing?" Kash's grandma cooed.
They weren't about to enjoy the petting zoo without first indulging their sweet tooths, she added.
"We showed up, and there were all these smells and sights,"McCasland said. "We were happy to eat our way through the fair."
Just around the corner, Hunter Johnson was walking on water.
And rolling. And running.
The 6-year-old's mother, Jodi, smiled as she watched him maneuver inside the giant, transparent ball in a pool of water.
"He's always wanted to do a human-sized hamster ball," Jodi said. "There's no way we could say no."
When staff unzipped Hunter's bubble, then did the same for his sister, Haileyann, the kids scrambled to their parents.
"It was like going into an obstacle course," Hunter reported of his first attempt. "It was so fun."
"It was really hard to stand up and roll for 10 seconds," added his 8-year-old sister, also a first timer. "I like this stuff."
Jodi was thrilled her children could try something a little out there.
"I think it's just going to continue them on the path of always wanting to try something," she said. "(Hunter) will probably be asking again for this all day."