Monday, August 29, 2011

County Fair - Day Six and We're Done

All good things must come to an end, right? So does county fair. Today was promising to be another warm one for us, relatively speaking of course compared to the rest of the country, but still what one would call 'hot' here in the Northwest. Agenda for the day included the Master Showmanship Contest of which Goat Princess would participate in, the 4H Awards Ceremony, and then the task of dismantling our club decorations and the tedious job of getting all of the livestock and participants out of the fairgrounds in an orderly fashion. Full day.

But not before I took H-Bob to get her face painted. I had been promising her that all week...

and a ride around the fairgrounds on the little train...

and a stop at the frozen lemonade stand.

The contestants for the Master Showmanship Contest started out by taking a written test covering various aspects of the different species they were about to show: dairy goat, meat goat, fiber goat, pygmy goat, dairy cattle, beef cattle, sheep, swine and llama. Goat Princess felt it was a breeze and was up from the table in about 20 minutes.

Next came rotations through each of the species with each of the age categories, juniors grades 4-6, intermediates grades 7-9, and seniors grades 10-12, plus those in FFA. Here they were being judged on their ability to show their given animal to its best advantage for the judge. And the fun begins. Some kids who raise more than one species find this contest simpler than those who concentrate on just one. For example...

When your swine decides to lay down in the show ring, then what?

How do you handle your monstrous dairy cow who decides she's stopping at the bale of straw in the ring next to the panel gate and about pancakes you against the metal bars? Of course I'm not quick enough to capture that on film. I was feeling a little panicked actually.

Or the market goat that attempts to swipe a piece of your face while setting up her feet? Ditto with this photo. I wasn't sure whether to laugh or be worried when I saw that head swipe at her face.

Did you notice some of the intense eye contact those showmen were making with the judge? A key factor for sure.

All fun and games in the toasty heat. Those kids had the sweat dripping down their faces for sure. But in a couple of hours, it too was over. This became the first time all fair that Goat Princess felt she could actually enjoy herself without the pressure to show, study, or be otherwise productive. So off she took with some friends who were visiting her at the fair and had a great time for a couple of hours before the awards ceremony.

It was a proud moment seeing her in the lineup of Master Showmen participants, sporting her newly won Champion Showman belt buckle. She didn't win the overall Champion or Reserve Champion title but did find out that she nearly aced the exam: 51 correct of 53 questions is pretty impressive.

So the hard work of dismantling the club barn decorations began and the job of keeping the club's goats corralled once some of the stall backings and dividers were being removed. But it was handled. The goats were led out to the trailer once our turn came to load, the supplies from the tack barn loaded up as well, and home I headed with Goat Princess and H-Bob while Hubby stayed back to help load up the club decorations with the rest of the guys.

The way home was almost magical...our first warm evening of the year where there was a slight warm breeze, a gorgeous sunset, and the feeling of relishing the memories of the best county fair ever.

3 comments - click here to leave your comments:

Weekend Cowgirl said...

I love county fairs!! These are great photos. What a great way to finish out the summer!

Weekend Cowgirl said...

Happy Holidays, Connie!!!

Weekend Cowgirl said...

Hoping you have a great 2012!

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