Sunday, July 26, 2009

Mesa County Fair, 2009 Bucket Calves and more

Mesa County Fair proved to be another great event. The fair is truly a family affair, especially as evidenced when one walked into the livestock area, the 4-H displays in everything from sewing, cake decorating, leather work and more. Parents were there, showing support for their offspring, who were learning so many lessons through their hard work and dedication.
The livestock, rabbits, chickens, sheep, goats, pigs and of course, the show steers, all entailed much care and training. Record keeping did much to prepare the contestants for later in life, when records and savey about good work ethic and tenacity will mean the difference in their adult lives.
With many events taking place each day of the Fair, perhaps one of the most poignant events was the showing of the bucket calves by the Clover Buds, the younger guys and gals who are getting ready to become 4-H members. These youngsters learn to feed and care for their 4 to 5 month-old calf, learning to lead it and answer questions given by the judge. Showmanship, communication, responsibility learned through this activity help create 4-Hers and leaders for the future.
Each first year participant was awarded a bucket which held treats and a beautiful championship ribbon.
The audience was thrilled as the  youngsters answered questions such as what breed is your calf. Several responses included, "black, and black and white."
As for the answer to "What did you name your calf?", the funniest response was "Coyote Bait."
Elsewhere in the barns, 4-H members were busy taking care of beautifully groomed pigs, sheep, goats, cattle, rabbits and chickens. Teens, their families and siblings were also present, giving support in all the preparations for showings, truly a family affair.
Elsewhere on the fair grounds, the usual carnival atmosphere reigned. The fairgrounds witnessed shows, a favorite which seemed to be the demolition derby. Daphne Blanchard and her dance crew were featured at the gazebo.  Paul Harshman and the Flat Top Reed played that same evening along with Exit 42.  The gazebo featured free entertainment for the duration of the fair.
Open class displays featured every type of work done in the home, from canning, gardening, flower arrangements, to crafts, quilts and more. Although the art and photograph show was somewhat hard to find due to being located in the jockey building, many enjoyed that show as well.
Final results will be published sometime this week after the fair board and committees have time to tabulate all.

There is to downside to the fair, that being caused by the economic status of the County. Not long ago, a move to let a private businessman take over the entire venue by moving the entire enterprize elsewhere, build new structures and such was in the news. Knowing that this would simply put the fees and charges out of range for most people who love showing their animals, their handiwork and seeing shows at the fair, it didn't fly. This privatizing of county fair grounds had occurred in several other states and caused the death of groups like 4-H and livestock associations who could not afford the prices to use the new facilities. The people in those counties lost out.
With the extreme heat of the past years, the complaints have risen again. Having walked in the mists meant to cool the animals, having experienced a little mud, was not new. All this goes with the show. It was no one's fault that the wind chose to tear into the shade providing tarp. It simply placed highlighted another problem to be solved. Every day one gets out of bed presents another problem to be solved one way or another.
Let's hope Commissioner Aquafresca, in his quiet manner, can muster a solution. There still remains land around the fairgrounds that can be utilized. There are organizations that would come to the front and help improve what is needed. In spite of the fact that commercial eyes covet the County's fair grounds, and that some politicians feel they would benefit in some manner from giving away the grounds, we need to keep Uranium Downs, help 4-H to grow, foster the spirit that has prevailed in years past and find solutions that keep the Fair Grounds for our people. 

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