It’s county fair time! I think I’m going to be going on my third year of not attending the Meeker County Fair, but don’t quote me. Meeker County is home for me and living on an agricultural operation, the local county fair was my favorite summer activity of all time. I was a proud 4-H member for 10 years and FFA member for 6 years.
I started showing cattle when I was in 3rd grade and several years later, I picked up another specie–sheep and then after that I showed hogs for a couple years. The only specie of animals that I didn’t show was dairy, chicken, rabbits, and goats–only because my mom freight over the thought of them on our operation.
Before I continue to ramble on, all I have to say is thank you to my big brother for instilling some hardcore work ethic into me. I wouldn’t be the person that I am today if he would of just sat back and let me slack off on my projects.
Since I finally got that off my chest, I have created some amazing memories with my brother. Do you know how many hours youth put in a day working on their livestock projects? It’s a lot! They are up before the rooster crows to get them into the barn before the blazing heat strikes. After a nice bath and coat drying, they brush and brush and brush till their animal’s coat is nice and shiny. Now with lambs, its a different story because you have to give them a slick haircut and practice setting up their legs and making sure they brace. (Bracing helps them define their muscle conformation, which is a plus in market lambs.) You have the same concept with beef animals but you hold onto a halter and position their feet with a show stick.
This process is what my brother did very well. He made sure that I was out in the barn brushing my animals for at least an hour and that my animal was well cared for. Leading up to a cattle event, I cleaned the livestock trailer and we loaded up all the supplies–showbox, chute, fans, hair blower, hose, and chairs.
As I grew out of 4-H and FFA, my family and I have been blessed to mentor a couple of youth that lived in town and wanted an agriculture experience. They were able to try all species but down the road they found their niche.
It’s been a blessing to be able to watch these youth that you’ve mentored grow up. It reminds me when I first started and the first thing learned was patience. It takes time and hard work. (Key words that I wouldn’t of learned if it wasn’t for my brother.) And, the county fair is the place to showcase all the hard work that you have put in over the summer!
This year, we have to young girls showing pigs and I wish them the best of luck as I won’t be there to root them!