Farewell to the Fair

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The Glenn County Fair is right around the corner and it’s with a heavy heart that I say it will be our last junior dairy cattle show. Showing has been a tradition in my family for many years and for me, there’s nothing quite like watching a child smile with so much pride as they show their animal to the crowd. To see a child win a ribbon for that animal is something I can’t describe. It’s overwhelming to see such tremendous joy radiate from a young person who has worked so hard to care for an animal that has become their friend.  Junior shows will allow the participants to be up to one year out of high school but then they must retire from the junior category. My youngest child is now at that point.

When I was a child, showing animals for 4H and FFA (Future Farmers of America) was something I looked forward to all year. It gave me a sense of accomplishment and was also just really fun. Once I married my wife, Jill, our daughter Mandy began showing in 1991 after we bought her two Jersey calves; she was a natural. It was at one of her fairs that we decided to purchase our beloved Blondie (of our Blondie’s Best cheese) who started showing with Mandy, as well as a beautiful Brown Swiss, in 1992. She continued to take the cows to the fair until 1999 and then our son, Tom, picked up where she left off.

In 2000, Tom started showing the calf of the Brown Swiss and was delighted to parade her around as his. Two years later, our daughter Laura began. She really has an affinity for showing and has since won many dairy showmanships. Last year, she was crowned Glenn County Fair Dairy Princess with her wonderful cow, Party. She started off with three or four dairy cows from the same show string as Mandy’s and is now in charge of 15, including her absolute favorite, Pearl. Pearl is an incredibly big girl but Laura shows her with such grace and poise, as if she were a much daintier cow.

Being involved with showing at the fair has always been a fundamental element of life for us all. To us, the connections we make with other families and volunteers are ones we will never forget and they make the experience a truly special one. So this fair will be Laura’s, and our, last junior show. Going forward, we can compete in the “open division” but have not yet decided if that’s something we’ll do. It’s been a great ride and we have so many memories that will last a lifetime. We’re all looking forward to watching Laura show but it’s bittersweet because it will be the end of something we’ve shared for nearly 23 years.

If you’d like to attend, the Glenn County Fair is going from May 15 – 18 and Laura will be showing Friday, May 16 at 9:00am in the Vince Simons Ring. If you can make it out and show your support, we’d love to see you.

If you would like to consider getting your family involved in showing livestock, contact your local 4H chapter here or Future Farmers of America here.

Until next time,

Tim

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