By Ciara Conley
For many, the Scioto County Fair is a great time to celebrate the end of summer, eat guilty-pleasure foods and have fun with friends and family. But for those involved in 4H, the fair isn’t all fun and games.
4H is a volunteer-led program that allows young people the opportunity to participate in hands-on learning projects, these projects include raising the animals that are shown at local fairs. The work and dedication that goes into caring for their animals spans far beyond a week.
Hours before the midway rides open and folks start making their way to the grounds, 4H’ers arrive to clean animal pens, bring food and water to their animals, bathe them and other duties that the public doesn’t typically notice.
For many families, the fair isn’t a relaxing break before school, it’s a hectic and exhausting week. But if you ask them, it’s worth the work.
9-year-old Tayiah Davis has spent the past seven months working with her market goat Cinnamon to prepare for her first year in the show ring.
During fair week, Davis is responsible for bringing food and water to Cinnamon and keeping his pen and the surrounding aisle ways clean and free of debris.
“I feed and water him every morning and evening,” said Davis. “I make sure I clean him, bathe him and brush him. When I have a show, I bathe him again, brush him again and then I start walking around with him to get him ready.”
While the days are long and tiring, Davis was rewarded for her hard work and earned sixth place in her class.
“My favorite part of the fair so fair has been learning things I didn’t know yet, so next year I bring a goat I can know them and do better,” Davis said.
Her grandmother Pinky Boyer, said she is proud of Tayiah’s progress and said she and Tayiah’s mother, Latoya, have also learned through Tayiah’s experience.
For 11-year-old Mia Crum and 10-year-old Ava Potters, the fair is a fun time to spend with friends, on the rare occasion that they have down-time that is.
The two have been involved in 4H for a majority of their lives, starting out as Cloverbuds. At the age of 9, they were finally old enough to begin showing animals. Crum and Potters show both cows and lambs, meaning double the work.
Crum and her family own a dairy farm in South Webster, each year, she selects which cows she wants to show and begins working to get them ready.
“We have a lane that we walk down with the cows and then we walk them in circles like we would in the ring,” said Potters. “We feed them twice a day and we shear them, we give them baths and brush them and we make sure their pens are clean,” added Crum.
Even as they’re pitching piles of dirty hay, they have good attitudes because they genuinely love spending time with the animals, even during the dirty work. The same sentiment echos across all the barns, each family and participant sharing that there’s no place they would rather be than caring for their animals at the Scioto County fair.
For more information about joining 4H and finding a club, please contact the Scioto County 4H extension office at 740-353-7879.
Reach Ciara Conley at 740-353-3101 ext. 1932