Thursday, July 27, 2017

What does it take to make the Marias Fair happen?

Kari Lewis, MSU Extension - Glacier county

This week, I started thinking about just how many people it takes to make the Marias Fair happen, and I wanted to share some numbers with you to illustrate just how much of a family-based, community oriented event the local fair is.  As I started putting this together, even I was a bit surprised at just how many folks contribute to our fair!

We had 186 kids from Glacier, Toole, Liberty, and Pondera counties exhibit 1,569 projects which included everything from shooting sports to livestock to cooking, sewing, photography, leathercraft, welding, and more.

We had 15 barn superintendents from three committees that oversaw our livestock, small animal, and horse shows.  We had 15 volunteers that helped weigh-in and process our market animals in under three hours. 

There were 145 steers, hogs, and lambs exhibited in the market shows.  On the breeding side, we had 8 yearling heifers, 9 cow/calf pairs, 2 yearling ewes, and three ewes with lambs at side.  There were 7 dogs, 44 dairy goat entries, 7 meat goats, 19 horses, 27 cages of poultry, 20 cages of rabbits, and 2 cats exhibited at the Marias Fair.  There were 20 volunteers that helped with the hog, beef, or lamb shows.  We had nearly a dozen volunteers help with the Dog, Cat, Rabbit, and Poultry Shows.  At the horse show, we had 14 volunteers that helped evaluate horsemanship, assisted in the ring, and announced the show.

In the 4-H food booth, we had nine food booth day chairs that kept the food booth running and
 oversaw the 257 youth and parent volunteers that worked in the food booth throughout the fair.  The food booth’s profits are returned to our 4-H youth as premium money, rewarding them for their blue and red ribbons they receive during the fair, and also provide us with a means to thank our volunteers and judges.

There were 25 judges that interview judged 185 kids over a five-hour period on Wednesday.  These judges had committed six to eight weeks in advance, and shared their afternoon with the kids, despite many also having harvest, haying, irrigating, and work commitments during the fair.  We had 50 plus parents and leaders that helped with interview judging, setting up, and taking down county displays.

On the public presentation side, there were three judges that evaluated nearly 25 speeches, demonstrations, and cowboy poetry talks over two days.  For the Friday 4-H livestock judging contest, we had six group leaders, two parents that assisted with check-in, two reasons takers, and one official judge that helped with the contest.

For Saturday’s Round Robin showmanship competition, we had 5 volunteer judges and 5 ring stewards.  At the livestock sale, we had 15 volunteers helping line up animals and three auctioneers, four ringmen, and four clerks that assisted in selling 145 head of livestock in just under three hours. Come Sunday, we had four guys that hauled the lambs, hogs, and beef to the processor.

In addition, we had numerous in – kind donations such as tens of cases of water from four sponsors, the use of livestock scales, squeeze chutes, and loading alleys, and multiple deliveries of water from the Shelby Fire Department to cool the showrings prior to the horse and livestock shows.

There were 90 plus sponsors of 4-H fair awards from multiple counties that recognized our kids’ efforts and accomplishments.  Lastly, we had four administrative assistants that put in a tremendous amount of time and effort both leading up to the fair and at the fair to make things run smoothly.

Really, this is only the tip of the iceberg, as each 4-H youth has project leaders, club leaders, parents, aunts, uncles, and friends supporting them and encouraging them in their journey.  Thank you to each and every person that makes 4-H and the Marias Fair possible, we couldn’t do it without you.  Thank you for choosing to invest in today’s youth, to make tomorrow better.  

If you want to know where all the good folks have gone, stop by your county fair, and I promise you’ll be encouraged at the youth and adult partnerships in action!

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