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CLAYTON RYE

By Staff | Jun 27, 2014

It is that time of year I write about a favorite subject of mine.

Are you going to read something you have read before?

Oh, yes, it was around this time a year ago and the year before that.

County fair time is approaching, and there are two reasons to attend your county fair and other fairs, as well.

The first reason is that, like your children, county fairs have the same last name, but different first names, usually the name of the county it is located.

And though they have so much in common, each fair is as individual as your children.

Fairs have their own personalities.

The second reason to take in at least one, or several county fairs, is those wonderful young people who will be showing their completed projects to fair judges.

4-H and FFA members will have projects from photography to 1,400-pound steers they have prepared in hopes of receiving a high award for their work.

My own favorite part is the livestock show. Not necessarily the show itself, but the activity in the barns and washing area where animals are groomed.

If the show participant is young, there is usually a parent there making sure the job is done well and on time.

During the actual judging, both the critter and its owner are looking their best as the judge looks them over, possibly asks a few questions and then makes a decision about placement.

It does not matter what the size of the animal is, from rabbits and chickens to sheep, hogs and cattle, the spirit of competition is the same and the look of intensity of the exhibitor when their animal is judged is keen.

And while you may not agree with the judge’s decision, that judge does have the last word and the judge’s decision is final.

Life is like that.

I am always impressed to see a large beef steer, dairy heifer or a horse being obediently led by someone who probably does not weigh 150 pounds themselves around a show ring.

It is a testament to the hours of care and training that has been done just for these few minutes of judging.

So there they are – the best projects on display by the young people who are the best.

They are learning what you get out of a project is proportional to the amount of time and effort you put into it.

Achievement does not come easy, nor is it given away for just participating.

This is also a time to honor those 4-H and FFA leaders who provide the instruction and guidance and then instill the confidence to take a chance in the show ring to go for that purple ribbon.

There are also the fair boards and the volunteers who work throughout the year and, while keeping this year’s fair running smoothly, are planning for next year’s fair.

And while you are at the fair, enjoy a corn dog or funnel cake or anything that looks good. When you see someone you know and haven’t seen for a while, take time to visit with them.

These fairs only come once a year, and there is no better time to appreciate what has been going on for years and hopefully, will continue for years to come.

And next year at this time of year, once again I will tell you why I am a county fair cheerleader.

Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at crye@wctatel.net.

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