Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Fair Week in Pictures

County fair week, in our part of the world, is officially over. 

The laundry is stacked in the wash room and the dirty boots sit out on the back stoop. 
The trailers are barely unloaded and the campers are being aired out. 
The trophies and ribbons handed out are home and have now become conversation pieces.
The animals are......well, let's not talk about that. It's still early. 

I serve a role in our county 4-H that requires me to be at the fair each evening. This allowed me to spend the week capturing shots of 4-Hers doing what they do best - displaying outstanding animal husbandry skills while learning the importance of hard work, dedication and responsibility. 


Being a cowboy sure does make you thirsty

Remember my story about Marvin and his undying passion for youth in agriculture? Well this is his great niece and great nephew, competing against each other for 
2011 Supreme Showman.
And below...

 Livestock marketing legend Kevin Wendt evaluates gilts for Grand Champion

 Corbin and his New Beginning, Zoe Monica, sure did well showing in Mini 4-H this year; expect this young stockman back in the ring for years to come....

...Especially if he can capture the attention of the girls like he did here!

 Can you guess which animal was being shown for the first time?

Dick Kinsinger, a life-long supporter of Wayne County 4-H, and judge Tom Younts reminisce about a 1960's county fair, where Dick awarded Tom the Grand Champion Steer title. 

The Wayne County Sheep King, Tony Terhaar

 Three generations of cattle enthusiasts

No pep talks from parents, or seasoned 4-Hers, can prepare one for selling their first 4-H project

Queen Joan doing what she does best

A face I haven't seen in years, this gal french braided my hair the very first time I stepped in a show ring. Now, she watches her own children show.

This 10-year 4-Her was dramatically injured not too long after this photo was taken. Sarah wasn't able to go on to show that night, or sell her steer Friday. The beauty of this situation is that the true spirit of 4-H prevailed. Competitors put their own interests aside and ensured Sarah's animal was fit and ready to walk in the ring when her class was called, even though she wasn't the showman on the end of the halter. 

From her hospital bed she sent an email that was read on the auction block Friday. Sarah thanked the community for the years of support and acknowledged 4-H as a true source of joy through her adolescent years.  

Even if Sarah wasn't there to say good-bye to her favorite steer she's ever shown, or her community support system, because of modern day technology this  incredibly hard working young gal was able hear the bids flying for Bambi the steer, 
her very last 4-H project...

Sure makes you proud to be a part of something so inspiring, doesn't it?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

"But It's Better To Be Related To One..."

Besides Christmas Eve, it was the most exciting night of the year for my Momma as a child. Her Momma, The Original Jean, would dress the sisters up in their Sunday best and even wear her own pearl earrings; it was one of the top social events of the summer, after all. Once the bows were tied and the curls were pinned, Jean would load the three girls into the Oldsmobile and head into town. 
It was the night of the Wayne County 4-H Queen Contest. 
The Original Jean never had the opportunity to be 4-H fair queen; our county started having the event a decade after she graduated high school. But for some reason, she always had a great interest in the contest. The dresses, the poised young ladies, the class. The whole thought that the young gal who took the title under the big top would be the positive spirit of the county fair. 
What Jean didn’t know back in the 1960’s is that she would have a niece and five granddaughters that would allow her to go to the contest for decades and leave “knowing a winner”...

My second cousin Julie was the first Wayne County 4-H Fair Queen in our family, crowned in 1986. She vividly remembers being “drug” to the contest by her Grandma (my Great Grandma) when she was a young girl.

Julie 1986

A note written to Julie from Aunt Jean

Twenty-five years later, Julie and Jean watching the 2011 hog show

 In 1998 my sister, Laura, reigned over the fair - Jean’s first granddaughter to win the contest she was so very fond of. 

Laura 1998

Three years later in 2001, my cousin Kathleen won contest at just sixteen-years-old. 

 Kathleen 2001

And in 2002, Kathleen passed that exciting title on to me.

 It's a Family Tradition

 Lindsay 2002

An email to Laura (1998) from my young cousin Joan

Keeping the competitive spirit alive, cousin Sarah won in 2007.

Jean and Sarah 2007

 And wouldn't you know, my "young" cousin Joan doesn't have to worry about collecting autograph cards from the 4-H queen this year, because she won that title last week. The last of Jean's granddaughters to compete and she certainly made us all proud. 

Joan and Jean 2011

I sat by The Original Jean at the contest this year. Just after Joan was crowned, Jean leaned over to me and said, "We won the whole deal. Guess it's true, I am the Queen Mum after all."

Yes, Grandma, you sure are. 

Monday, June 20, 2011


As I continue with the theme of 4-H this week, I think it's important to recognize one of the most passionate 4-H kids I've never met. 

More than once, inquiring minds have asked about the boy holding the Shorthorn steer in my blog header. That strapping young kid, not even 18, is my great uncle Marvin. Marvin was the Original Jean's older brother. 

Nearly every photo I've ever seen of Marvin has livestock in it. A steer, a hog, a horse - he was a true stockman, even at an early age. 

Marvin was passionate about 4-H. He worked hard at selecting the steer that he thought would win him the purple ribbon and he spent much time with those animals to ensure docility. I rarely hear the Original Jean tell a story about her 4-H days with out including Marvin. In 1943, Jean won Grand Champion Steer at the county fair. Perhaps her greatest feat that night under the show ring lights wasn’t winning the whole deal, but beating her brother Marvin out of the competition... 
In the Beef Calf club show Wednesday evening, Jean Moyer, 13 year-old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Burley Moyer of Harrison Township, exhibited a 1,011 pound purebred Hereford to claim the grand champion honor in this year’s event. The Moyers kept the beef calf show in the family with Marvin, a brother to the championship exhibitor, winning champion breed honors in both the Angus and Shorthorn classes. They also won the award for showing the three best steers together. 
- 1943 newspaper clipping

Unfortunately, Marvin never made it to celebrate his 10th year of 4-H. 
One day while milking, Marvin was kicked in the groin by a Holstein cow. The severe injury developed into cancer, which claimed the life of the young stockman before his 18th birthday. 
It’s heartbreaking to think of what could have come of a young man so passionate about the livestock industry. What would he have gone on to do? 
Though Marvin didn’t live long enough to marry or start a family of his own, I’m confident his livestock legacy lives on each time one of the Original Jean’s grandkids, or great grandkids, walks in the the show ring at the county fair this year, more than sixty-five years after his death. 

And those, my friends, are deep roots.