Boone: A blue ribbon fair
BOONE – An estimated 13,000 visitors were expected to attend the 2010 Boone County Fair, which opened Thursday and closed Sunday.
Hot weather tended to keep fair visitors away during the day, but cooler evenings found area resident venturing out to see what was up, enjoy the midway and look over the livestock and commercial exhibits.
The fair was named a Blue Ribbon Fair during the Iowa Fair Association’s annual convention in December 2009.
Key to Iowa’s county fairs is the 4-H and FFA livestock shows and project judging.
Over 60 4-H projects were selected to advance to the state fair inside the air conditioned-Commercial Building; while outside the livestock show ring was abuzz, on Friday with the 4-H Beef Show and “ag olympics” later in the afternoon.
Beef show winner
For Troy Shaw, the 18-year-old son of Mike and Sherry Shaw, of rural Ogden, bringing home trophies from the beef show was not new, but sweeping Boone County’s 4-H beef show was something that had eluded him for seven years. With one more year to compete at the 4-H level, Shaw’s 1,363-pound steer claimed the champion rate of gain honors at 3.41 pounds per day; the champion merit market steer award, the grand champion market steer and the supreme beef market animal award.
At the end of the show, Shaw closed out buy winning the champion senior showmanship plaque.
Shaw already holds eight championship wins in his life in junior beef shows from Iowa and other states. With his winning steer this year, Shaw said he knew he had something special after it won its class in several national junior shows.
Troy is a member of the Iowa Junior Beef Breeds Association and is a member of the board for the juniors.
Friday’s 2010 supreme market animal win was his first since 2003, his first year to compete in Boone County 4-H judging.
“Some kids like to spend their time four-wheeling,” Shaw said, “but I go to cattle shows. It’s my hobby. I really like it.”
He said that after years of showing cattle, he has a sense in the ring of when things are going well for him. Usually, anyway.
“Sometimes the judge will surprise you,” he said. This was one of those surprising years.
“I thought my steer was going to be too big for him,” Shaw said, relating his thoughts while in the ring. Even though his steer was part of the championship cow-calf pair competition at the Boone County Fair in 2009, he wasn’t “feeling it” early in the beef show. That is, until the purple ribbons started coming his way, followed by trophies and plaques.
But even when he thought his calf wasn’t good enough for the judge, Shaw said he didn’t give up.
“I won’t quit,” he said. “I’ll still do my best. It takes too much to get them (calves) ready to just give up.”
State Fair projects
Over in the Commercial Building, several excited 4-H’ers were quietly celebrating their good days, having projects selected to advance to the Iowa State Fair in mid-August.
One duo, Kaitlyn Romitti, and Jackie Means, both 17-year-old members of the Madrid Merrymakers 4-H Club, had a simple project they called “Faux Dough,” that earned them excellent ratings “across the board” from the judges and an easy selection for the state fair.
This will be the girls’ seventh trip with a top working exhibit sent on to Iowa’s premier fair. All seven, they did together.
Faux dough, they explained, helped those visiting their booth with making an edible type of forming dough. “They could play with it or eat it,” Romitti said.
The twist was that they replaced the traditional peanut butter with soy and sunflower butter, for those with peanut allergies; replaced honey with agave, for diabetics; and used powdered milk to reduce calories. Means has a brother with a peanut allergy and both girls said they have family members with diabetes.
Those who visited the faux dough booth were given plastic bags and the needed ingredients to mix their own small batch.
Means said the dough is pliable enough to be formed into shapes. “And it tastes good, too,” she added.
Working exhibits, Means said, “is a good way to strengthen our speaking skills,” Means said.
“And you get to work with different people,” Romitti added, saying they assisted day care children and handicapped visitors who approached their booth.
A trio of 4-H’ers are bound for their second consecutive trip to the state fair after their working exhibit on paper airplanes was advanced. Samantha Walter, 17, Hannah Swanson, 16, and Aaron Swanson, 13, all members of the Madrid Duets, said one of the secrets to their success was the ability to draw in people to their booth, as well as provided a table that served as a landing strip so participants could test their planes.
They said their printed instructions were easy to follow and could be taken home.
Their 2009 state fair exhibit was making recycled CD ornaments.
Amanda Brown, 11, a member of Green Clovers 4-H Club, documented her experiences of purchasing a pet from the Boone Area Humane Society. She assembled the text and photos in a booklet, interviewed well during judging and was rewarded with her effort going to the state fair.
She said the project surprised her in two ways. First, was why her new pet, Pepper, a miniature Schnauzer, “was lost in the first place. She is such a good dog.”
The second was getting the state fair nod. “I actually though I had better projects in the past,” Brown said, which were passed over by judges.
Quinten Westrum likes to work with fire. Not a pyromaniac, he said, but he likes working with fire and knowing what it can do. His 2010 fair entry on the uses for fire and a how-to on building a quick, easy-burning fire, was one of the 60 state fair exhibits. It’s his fourth time to be chosen in his six 4-H years. His 2009 state fair project was also on fire and how to be safe around it.
When asked what was his secret to planning a project that would be advanced, Westrum said, “I just pick projects that interest me and try to explain them in the most interesting way.”
Annette Brown, Iowa State University Extension youth development specialist, said working exhibits develop communication skills in the 4-H members, as they are conference judged. They must explain to the judge what they are doing, how it works and why they chose it.
“They also learn leadership and citizenship skills,” said the youth coordinator for the counties of Boone, Story, Marshall and Hardin. She noted that it was rewarding for her to see the 4-H’ers do well and have success with their efforts.
Contact Larry Kershner at (515) 573-2141, Ext. 453, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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