Iowa State Fair Husband Calling Champ Already Famous Beyond Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  A former husband calling champion at the Iowa State Fair has returned to defend her crown.

Bonnie Swalwell Eilert found her ribbons won at the fair in past years led to national fame.

Eihlert, of Newton, had won here many times, so when the TV show Little Big Shots: Forever Young called, the State Fair Marketing Department recommended her. She and her daughter were flown to California, where she was interviewed by Steve Harvey for his show that aired nationally this summer.

“I imagine many of you saw me on the Steve Harvey show,” Eihlert told the crowd. “I will be on there off and on, it was a wonderful experience through the Iowa State Fair as I won so many ribbons.”

At the Varied Industries Building, Iowa State University was demonstrating a robot capable of scooping soil onto other planets.

“Iowa State every year designs and builds these robots and then takes them to a competition at the NASA Base at the Kennedy Space Center,” said William Nickoloff, an engineering student from St. Paul, Minnesota. “This year there were 46 universities there and we actually placed 2nd.”

Also in the Varied Industries Building a farm scene, created by artists using balloons.

"Well the Iowa State Fair is the ultimate celebration of all things food and farming, so we’re really bringing that to life through balloons,” said Lindsey Foss, of the Iowa Food and Family Project. “It’s really a fun tie to celebrating all that farmers do in our state and the wholesome food they provide.”

By 9 a.m., there was a line for “I Milked a Cow.” This is a fundraiser for the Iowa State University Dairy Science Club. For $2 they will show people how to milk a cow, and then let them do it.

“Some kids just catch on right away, and then some we have to describe a little bit more,” said Megan Dannen of Boone, who is a student at Iowa State University. “I like to think of it as squeezing out a tube of toothpaste, cause you can’t just grab onto the teat and squeeze and yank on it, you have to work it out.”

The fair also again hosted Mutton Bustin’ in the Pavillion. Kids by the dozens signed up to ride a sheep for as long as possible before getting bucked off.