Monday, July 14, 2014

Fair Days

It's fair week! The most wonderful time of the year! I have loved the county fair since I was a wee small lass longing to show a horse, or a pig, or even a chicken, at the fair. I loved hanging around the animals (really!), picking up a duck to win a prize, trying to get a ping pong ball into a goldfish bowl, riding the ferris wheel with my besties (even if it occasionally caused some tummy trouble), venturing into the fun house, and eating those greasy donuts (maybe that's what caused the tummy trouble).

Our kids loved riding with their dad on the merry-go-round, getting a twist ice cream cone, and sitting on every single tractor every single night. As they grew, they spent hours in the barn playing cards, scooping poop, and making friends. They experienced the highs and the lows of showing cattle (and horses, for Jennifer), and, hopefully, learned something along the way.

Adam learned (among other things) that fair tenderloins are mighty tasty. We headed out to the fairgrounds on Thursday for opening night, so that he could have a tenderloin before he left for Europe on Friday. He decided to attempt two, a lofty goal. I'm afraid his eyes were bigger than his stomach, but he did get his tenderloin fix before heading across the pond.
On Saturday night, we ate dinner (again at the fish/tenderloin tent) and then took Haleigh and Ella to see the 'Barn Buddies.' There are baby pigs, chicks, lambs, calves, and a llama on display. Haleigh tried 'milking' the pretend cow.
And they had a grand time 'digging' in the corn.
Grandpa got his opportunity to take the little ones on the merry-go-round, his favorite, and they all had a good ride.
On Monday morning, Matthew was dressed and ready to show his Angus heifer, 'Lady Gaga.'
This is just part of his cheering section, which included 95-year-old Great-Grandpa Stewart, Nana and Boomie, Jennifer and Bryan and Baby Noah. Go Matthew!
Here he is in the heifer class, getting her all set up.
And after the class, giving Granny a smile. Such a handsome guy!
Here he is having a quiet moment with Lady before he took her back to the stall. She will go back into the herd to be a mama cow.
During the lunch break, Ella ate with us (again, at the fish/tenderloin tent, that's three times now), and we got some ice cream for dessert. She chose chocolate.
Noah got his first taste of ice cream at the fair.
Where have you been keeping this stuff, Mom? Yumm-eee.
Matthew took a little catnap during the lunch break. Those early cattle show mornings are hard on a guy!
Meanwhile, Haleigh did a little sweeping.
While Noah and Jennifer got acquainted with some goats.
Matthew had a Hereford steer to show in the steer show, thanks to Grandpa Charley. You can see some more of his fans hanging on the rail on the far side of the show ring. 'Cooper' was the champion Hereford steer, since he was the only Hereford steer. :)
After the steer show, Matthew participated in the rookie showmanship class. For this class, the judge is looking at how well the young showmen handle their animals. He asks questions of each one in the class, and watches closely while the showmen lead their calves around the ring and set them up, all the while keeping their eyes on the judge.
This was just after Matthew was named Reserve Champion Rookie Showman! Way to go, Matthew. It's no small feat for a boy of about 60 pounds to lead a steer of about 1250 pounds. (How's that for an understatement?)
I'm so proud of Matthew for working with his cattle even when it was hard, and for doing a great job in the show ring today.
The judge said many times today, that the important part of showing is not the prizes or trophies, though they are nice, but, rather, the lessons learned, the relationships made, the kindnesses shown, and the memories shared that make the experience worthwhile. I am thankful for patient judges who take time to teach and praise, for dedicated parents and mentors who make livestock projects possible, and for families and communities who support the endeavors and activities of our youth.
After the show, we had a chance to take a photo of Great-Grandpa John, Grandpa Jim, Andrew, and Matthew. What a blessing for four generations to celebrate a successful day at the Decatur County 4-H Fair!

1 comment:

Terri D. said...

I loved the county fair when I was growing up, and then was in the marching band and performing at the fair. Fun, fun, fun. Haven't been to one in years.

Your photos and how involved the family is - so great!