by Neva Bodin
Last week I had the privilege of staying with my youngest daughter and her family while the county fair sapped much strength from all of us. The two grandchildren showed 3 pigs, 3 goats and 3 sheep. As usual, they came away with purple, blue, and another color or two on ribbons. Next week they go to state fair with goats and sheep.
We sat 3 ½ hours at a pig show one evening, and the same at the goat and sheep shows which ran concurrently one morning. They were sometimes humorous, sometimes sad, and of course we were proud at the ribbons they won: grand champion showmanship, grand champion breeding ewe, grand champion in archery, and more.
It was sad when some of the younger kids had animals that didn’t cooperate and stand right, or ran away from them in front of the judge. The judge was very understanding and had something positive to say about every participant. The peewee show was of course cute and brought smiles to everyone’s face—very small kids led very big animals out to show, usually with help of the regular owner. It’s a neat thing, and gives future 4-H members a taste of the ring.
We were very proud of the kids for their diligence over many months of caring for and grooming and exercising these animals to get them ready. They have to keep track of expenses, birth records, weight, growth, nutrition etc. They get up early each morning to feed and water and exercise, no sleeping in during the summer. And they sell the market animals at the end, earning money for college and other dreams.
Very generous people buy these animals for big bucks to help these kids. Yet, letting go is sometimes heart-wrenching for both the animals and kids. Please share these memories of the fair with me.