Day Writing by Heather Hamilton-Maude: Fair Time
It is fair season in our part of the world. Numerous kids put in months of work in preparation of county fair. Some were able to exhibit their projects, while others faced fair being cancelled.
A couple weeks back we heard St. Onge Livestock was hosting a youth livestock sale for the Butte/Lawrence County kids. Their fair was cancelled fairly early in the summer, but not before several kids had purchased their animal projects for the year.
Two of those kids were our hog customers, and we decided to go in case the sale wasn’t well attended. We ate the buyer appreciation meal outside, visited with a couple people we know, and I took a quick peek at the pigs.
Then we went inside to sit down. The place was packed. We didn’t get to sit together as a family it was so full. I have to admit, it gave me a lump in my throat to see that sale barn overflowing with people, who we soon learned were there with their checkbooks ready to support those kids.
It was a runaway sale; as good or better than the kids typically saw at their county fair. As we slipped out of the overly hot sale barn and headed for home, I couldn’t help but smile at the scene we left behind.
Last week was the Custer County Fair, which is our local fair. We attended the livestock shows and ranch rodeo. We ate a free supper, visited with our friends and neighbors, and kept an eye on our kids as they excavated the sand box and lapped the premise.
My mother-in-law announced most, if not all, of the livestock shows. As she concluded the beef show, she went on to say it was pretty much like any other Custer County beef show, and the fair was pretty much like any other Custer County Fair, and how very fortunate we all were to be able to experience a normal fair this summer.
We witnessed two very different county fair outcomes within the last several days. But, in both instances, people came together for our youth. I was thrilled to see our customers’ pigs exceed what we had agreed we could give for them that evening in St. Onge, then keep right on going for several more cents per pound. It was wonderful to see other customers enter the ring with their pigs in Custer County and show against their contemporaries as their livestock project was designed.
I am willing to bet that either set of kids will one day be prepared to do for their children what was done for them, should a set of circumstances ever threaten public events in this way again. I am also certain that many of the adults who banded together this summer to make events happen, or to provide wonderful alternatives, once filled the shoes of youth showmen who looked forward to their county fair with great anticipation.
It’s all a great example of the return on the investment made in a young person involved in their county fair.
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This is a win for not only the American independent cattle producers and feeders in the US, but maybe even more importantly the beef consumers across this nation!