Thursday, August 2, 2012

It's Fair Time!

This week's guest blogger is Afton Demott, an Atchison County native and current president of the AC Fair Board.  A 2005 graduate of Rock Port High and a 2008 graduate of NWMSU, Afton is the Executive Secretary/CSR at Atchison-Holt Electric and Secretary of University Extension Council...AND, she's getting married to a fellow AC native (Chad Schomburg) September 1!  Many thanks to this awesome lady for taking time during this crazy fair week to blog for us!  For information on the Fair, check out the schedule in this week's paper or call the UM Extension office at 744-6231! 

It is here…Fair week!  It is a time for many Atchison County families to show off what they have been working on.  These families have dedicated countless hours of hard work into their prize projects.  The Atchison County fair is not just for the average farmer, it is a family affair for all ages to partake in.  

I remember how waking up early every morning during fair week was so exciting!  The chores, washing of the animals, grooming…I couldn’t wait!  I had a routine down after the first few years.  Feed, wash, and get ready for show.  When the hog show day rolled around the nerves hit.  I would tell myself “It’s ok, I got this.”  Walking into the show ring I was now showing everyone what I had been working on since April.  I smiled at the judge and presented my hog for him to judge.  Keeping good eye contact I walked around the ring with pride.  The ring men help pen the hogs and split up the ones that like to fight.  Thank goodness we have such great volunteers to help.  No matter how good or bad I ended up in each class I held my head high because I was proud of my project. 

The cattle show entitles much more work.  The nerves really hit on this day.  I wanted to do well and showmanship was what I wanted to win more than anything.  After feeding, I would wash my steer, blow him dry and start working with his hair.  All summer I had been rinsing him every morning, noon and evening to get good hair.  Hair on cattle can be what makes or breaks the animal.  I would spray all the necessary accessories on and brush them in and blow them in with the dryer.  Making some last minute touches with the clippers and scissors, I changed halters and headed for the ring with my show stick.  Eekkk!!!  I could not wait to show my steer off.  Entering the ring I made eye contact with the judge as I walked my steer into position.  Using the show stick to set his feet, I watched everyone else enter.  After circling the ring he placed the class and we exited accordingly.  After all the classes and champion driver are over, it is the showmanship classes.  Sometimes the judge will make you switch animals with another exhibitor.  I took pride in the showmanship classes, winning 3 years in a row.  Getting money and trophies are great, but we need to remember to thank these sponsors who willingly donate money to the fair.  Thank you notes are VERY important to write to the sponsors to let them know you appreciate them and what they have sponsored.

State Fair is another time when the county exhibitors get together and put up a county display.  We all come together and split the costs of the materials to have a nice display and let everyone know we are from Atchison County.  State fair is so much fun because you get to know the other exhibitors better and spend quality time with them.  We all help each other wash and get to the barns and tie outs.  Getting to know others in the county is huge and it helps out in the long run.

Living in such a great county we have numerous volunteers.  Without all of you who volunteer your time, the fair would be hurting.   Volunteering and sponsoring are two wonderful things this county is amazing at.  Sponsorships not only benefit the Atchison County Fair.  They also benefit the youth of the county and show them what this county can really do.  The people that volunteer their time as superintendants of the species for the show are truly appreciated, as are the ring men.  They keep the events running smoothly and if an animal gets away from an exhibitor they are Johnny on the spot!  The ladies that enter the horticulture and fine arts exhibits spend a lot of their time volunteering throughout the days of the fair.  And the list goes on.

As far as the volunteers and sponsors, I believe Atchison County has by far the best!  The willingness our county has to want to help others is AWESOME!  You don’t find people everyday like the people of Atchison County.  We also have the best sportsmanship when it comes to the show ring, congratulating other exhibitors on their win. 

The events that the Atchison County Fair offers are for a variety of ages: greased pig contest, Pedal Tractor Pull, Muttin Bustin, Pie Baking Contest, Parade and the livestock shows of course!  You can participate or come be a spectator, all are welcome!  Come out and give the people of Atchison County a hand!

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