Memorable times while showing at the fair
As I’ve interviewed some local 4-H members preparing for the county fair over the past few weeks, especially those with animals, it triggered some fond memories of my earlier years in 4-H.
I grew up in McLeod County, similar in size to Dodge, located in the central part of the state. Our family always showed purebred hogs.
The fairs have become engrained in my family’s DNA.
It became a ritual every year to get our animals prepared for show throughout the hot summer months. We started in early June walking our pigs around the farm in hopes of training them to be show quality.
Dodging the sweltering heat and humidity of summer always proved to be a challenge in getting the animals ready for show, but somehow we always managed it. I’m not sure who got testier in those conditions—the pigs or the handler.
Once show time came around, it was serious business as we competed with other 4-Hers from around the county.
Showing hogs is where I developed my competitive spirit with winning honors. Besides the regular show, we always took part in showmanship in hopes of walking away with extra ribbons and perhaps even a trophy or two.
For me the showing became a true test of endurance in the show ring. I’ll never forget one year when my hog had a mind of its own and decided to let it be known. As a young little showman, I had about all I could handle. My pig reared its ugly head and went for the bleachers burrowing its way under the wooden seats and sending show goers for cover. I was humiliated. How could this be? But it taught me very early in life that not everything is going to go your way even when you have the best intentions. And I learned to adapt on my feet very quickly. I will admit, however, a few tears were shed as I tried to bring this animal under control.
I think earning a championship with my pig was actually my first introduction to the local newspaper. My picture was taken with the pig and published in the paper. Once that hit the streets, you would have thought I had won the lottery. It’s the reason why I have a special spot in my heart even today for interviewing 4-H members and getting them featured in the newspaper.
I truly believe that the 4-H program is one of the best youth programs available. It instills competitiveness and many other life skills that I still use today. I learned early on to always give my best no matter what I attempt to do in life.
The fair proved to be our life for the summer through preparing for show and then finally getting the opportunity to show. Once county fair was over, it was time for the state fair. I won numerous trips to the state fair with animals as well as other projects.
I hope all 4-H members will take advantage of the opportunity they have in 4-H at the fair this year and go in hot pursuit of making it a memorable experience.