Saturday, August 30, 2008

Making Memories at the County Fair

My kids are filthy, my carpet is littered with sawdust, there are no clean blue jeans in the house. Yep, it's county fair time!

For a farm family, the county fair is part livestock bragging rights, part social gathering, part family reunion, and part marathon. For us, it means making sure our seven-year-old is ready to show his gilt (female pig), the four-year-old has eaten something more than the candy he got from pee-wee showmanship, and the two-year-old hasn't been run over by a cow--because the cow would not want to know her wrath.

Montgomery County Fair is the culmination of our summer of hog showing. This year our combined family (ours plus my husband's brother's family) brought six gilts, four head of dairy (cows), plus a myriad of cakes, cupcakes, scarecrows, etc.

Here, Justin, Ryan and Morgan pose with the 2008 Montgomery County Pork Queen. Believe it or not, that title is a big honor.

They are celebrating Ryan's grand champion gilt and Justin's win in the 3-4 year-old pee-wee swine showmanship class. He managed to win, even after hitting the judge in the be-hind with his pig whip.

Little sister needs to pay attention and learn from the 3-4 year-old champ.

My sister-in-law was inspired by the displays that the big dairy farms put up at the Ohio State Fair--many include water features, painted murals of the farm, their prize cow sculpted in butter, and more. This one was awarded best dairy display at the fair.

Justin was too busy eating candy to show off his trophy, so Morgan stepped in to share her participation ribbon (it's PINK!) and Ryan had a minor stroke (just kidding).

We have exhibited Ayrshire dairy heifers (females) at the fair for 40+ years. And only once in that time did we actually have any competition. But no matter, we persevere on and are introducing a new generation of the family to the method of walking into the ring and collecting multiple ribbons, then exiting. They are also learning how to cash the premium check.

A motley crew of future dairymen (and dairywomen) participated in pee-wee dairy showmanship.

My husband and I have so many fond memories of our time at the county fair and our years in 4-H. I know our children are also having fun while learning important life lessons:

  • The hard work you do behind the scenes pays off when you're on display
  • Put your best foot forward, even when you have no apparent competition
  • If you walk behind the bull, you will step in it

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