Monday, July 22, 2013

California Mid-State Fair

Earlier in the summer, I entered 2 jacquard weavings in the local fair. Today was our day to go to the fair, and I found out that one of the pieces won a first prize, and the other won a second prize. Woo-hoo! The prize money is in the $10-15 (US) range...

The fair isn't about grown-ups, though, it's about the kids. Especially the 4-H kids. This is a *big* 4-H area. 4-H is an organization for elementary-to-high-school-age kids, who raise farm animals and in the process learn a lot of grown-up lessons: economics, business negotiations, showmanship, care and nurturing of animals, responsibility, public speaking, and a lot more. Everyone I know who spent  some time in 4-H as a kid has nothing but good things to say about what the experience taught them.

So we spent quite a bit of time roaming around the animal barns and show arenas. The lambs are a big task for a kid - a 6-month-old market lamb outweighs most teenagers, and has sheer terror on its side. Right before the animal is going to go into the ring for judging, it gets a bath and a haircut. I kid you not, there's an area set aside as a sheep shower! (The handlers got as wet as the lambs.) Then they go to a grooming stand for a last minute shave:

And then the kids change into their 4-H uniforms (white shirt, white pants, optional green hat and/or kerchief) and take their animals into the judging ring:

Some of the younger/smaller animal handlers need help controlling their lamb, so there were a few older/bigger 4-H-ers available to assist in the task of wrangling unhappy lambs.

It's a real treat to watch, and an even bigger treat for the kids who win ribbons! A ribbon means the kid earns more per pound when selling the lamb to a local butcher/grocer. This is what rural California is all about. Practical, sensible education in skills that the kid will need as an adult. The lambs? Not so much. They made an unholy racket baa-ing loudly to tell everyone how unhappy they were about the whole event!


Margreet said...

Congratulations on 1st and 2nd prize. Nice to read about the kids.

Sheila said...

As a former 4-H-er it brings back memories. We had beef calves, not lambs, but everything else is similar. :-)
Congratulations on your wins!