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Unique activities highlight Dickinson fair

By Staff | Aug 6, 2010

Dickinson County youth compete in a bale rolling contest during Farm Chore Olympics contests during last week’s Dickinson?County Fair. Straining against the bale are Colby Kraninger, foreground, Cathy Ackroyd and Patrick Bockman. The youth in the red hat is unidentified.

SPIRIT LAKE – An unusual 4-H and FFA organization fundraiser and an evening of farm chore antics highlighted a five-day run of the Dickinson County 4-H and FFA Fair, held July 25-29 in Spirit Lake.

Animal exhibit numbers were up for the most part, fair officials said, with fairgoers seeing an increase in numbers in the horse,goat, rabbitand poultry categories; while swine numbers were slightly down. Beef and sheep numbers remained more constant from last year.

Reigning over the fair events this year was Alicia Magg, crowned the 2010 Dickinson County Fair Queen. Magg, 18, was crowned on the first evening of the fair. She is the daughter of Randy and Denise Magg of Spirit Lake.

While the fair featured livestock and pet shows of all kinds, other events included a rock ‘n’ roll dinner concert, a carnival put staged by county 4-H clubs, an ice cream social, a kiddie pedal tractor pull, a petting zoo, an incubator with chicks hatching throughout the week, and a chance for fairgoers to try some unusual cuisine made from sheep and goats. However, there were a couple of events that drewfairly largecrowds.

The Milford Pioneers 4-H Club sponsored its fourth annual Farm Chore Olympics, whereby fairgoers made up teams of six youth, to compete against other teams to perform and complete various farm chores. The combined ages of the youth teams could not surpass 85, and there had to be at least two girls or two boys on each team.

On the barrel is FFA’er Dakota Kraninger and cutting the board is Anthony Quail, during the Farm Chore Olympics.

Farm chores to complete this year included a blindfolded wheelbarrow maze, egg gathering, signing papers at the “Farm Services Agency” office, cutting a board with a hand saw, hauling water in five-gallon buckets, washing a pig for judging, and round bale moving. At the end of the evening, the youth team with the fastest time competed against the adult team who had the fastest time. Prizes were awarded to the top three placing teams.

Skylar Hansen, 15, of Milford, participated in the blindfolded wheelbarrow maze part of that event, where she was the blindfolded driver, and the person in the wheelbarrow gave her directions on how to get through the maze of pylons.

“I thought the Farm Chore Olympics was very fun, and it was fun to help get younger kids involved with older kids,” she said. “As the years go on we meet more people and make more friends by doing things like this. I (participated in it) last year, too. It’s really fun. I like it.”

Along with the main event that evening, the Milford Pioneers 4-H Club took up a collection to help support Iowa’s Ronald McDonald Houses, helping to provide housekeeping supplies for families who stay at those facilities. This fundraiser came about because the club had a member whose younger sister became very ill, and the family stayed at one of those facilities.

Along with other supporting projects for that cause throughout the year by that club, they gathered $236 from fairgoers throughout the Olympic event that evening.

Participants wash pigs for the fair as one of the team events in the Milford Pioneers' fourth annual "Farm Chore Olympics" at the Dickinson County Fair. 

Kyra Klinghagen, the sibling who had become so ill, was also out on horseback that evening — complete with a protective mask on her face — collecting money for this cause.

Another unusual event for a county fair is Dickinson County Fair’s annual pie auction, which raises money for county 4-H and FFA organizations. At this auction, 4-H and FFA members bring pies to be sold by a local auctioneer. It is truly a fundraiser in disguise.

Though it appears to be under the form of an auction, it is (in reality) a chance for local business people to gather together to financially support 4-H and FFA. In exchange for their financial donation, they receive a homemade pie.

Business people bid on pies brought by club and FFA chapter members, and the highest bidder receives the pie.

Karen Byers, county Iowa State university Extension coordinator, explained to fairgoers on the night of the auction that clubs receive 75 percent of the funds they receive for their pies, while the rest goes to the youth council for help in planning events throughout the year for the 4-H organization. Some pies are brought back to be re-sold; when that happens, Byers said 100 percent of the resale money goes to the county youth council.

Aurie Arends, daughter of Glenn and Selina Arends, of Spirit Lake, pets a newly hatched chicken with Brooklyn Erickson, 10, who was helping with the chicken incubator at the Dickinson County Fair.

This year there were 141 pies auctioned off, bringing in approximately $7,000 toDickinson County 4-H clubs and FFA chapters.

The top selling pie was a rhubarb pie brought by Caila Jones, of Spirit Lake, which sold for a never-been-seen before $650.

“I couldn’t believe it,” said Jones. “It was a good feeling to see all the people there supporting 4-H’ers. I hope our club takes it and puts it to good use.”

Jones, who graduated from Spirit Lake High School last May, has been a member of the Superior Lakers 4-H Club since she was in the fourth grade. She has taken a pie to the pie auction almost every year, but has never seen a pie go for that high of a price.

The buyer of the pie was Brian Heebner, a family friend from the Estherville area.

Brad Amthauer, of Hartley, judges a sheep shown by Mason Mart of the Lloyd Victors 4-H Club.

“I may have to take out a small loan to pay for this,” he joked when it was all over. “I’m just a friend of the Jones family and I’ve bought Caila’s pies for the last four years. I didn’t want to stop now.”

Zach Lindsey, 17, will be a senior at Spirit Lake High School this fall, and is facing his last year of involvement in 4-H this coming year. Lindsey has been active in showing Limousin cattle, along with sheep since he started in 4-H in fourth grade.

He has won an array of awards there and around the state for his showmanship abilities. He took a brief break from cleaning out his cattle stall long enough to say that 4-H has taught him a few things.

“I’ve learned that some judges are perfectionists and some are a little more lenient,” he explained. “They all (judge) differently. Some ask questions, some don’t.But the main thing is to not get too nervous about (showing). I’ve had some good experiences with showing cattle and some bad ones, but (you go into it knowing it’s a) different judge, different day.”

Lindsey said after his senior year of 4-H involvement is over, he’ll miss meeting new people and all the fun that comes with sharing his fair experiences with other kids who are there with him.

He is the son of Dustin and Jeri Lindsey, of rural Spirit Lake.

While there were top showmen in every animal category, overall showman for all species shown at this year’s fair was Dustin Schwaller, of Milford.

Contact Karen Schwaller at kschwaller @evertek.net.

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