The La Plata County Fair is now over. A total of 55 4-H General, Natural Resources and Home Economic projects are in Pueblo for the Colorado State Fair and are being judged today.
Before going on, I would like to take this opportunity to thank both Bill Roberts, editorial page editor for The Durango Herald and Darrin Parmenter in our office for the nice tributes they wrote about me and the 4-H program just before the fair.
This year's fair was one of the smoothest in memory. The La Plata County Fair is pretty much organized and run by volunteers. The Extension staff and the fairgrounds staff do play a vital supportive role, but all of the Open Class and 4-H superintendents are volunteers. The Fair Board is made up of 19 volunteer members. Randy McKee, fair president, and Shirley Reinhardt, Exhibit Hall superintendent, have been board members for many years. All are the backbone of the fair. The board meets monthly and is already starting to look toward next year's fair.
McKee, in his dual role as General Livestock superintendent, uses the expertise of the livestock superintendents Robert Campbell (beef); Donna Karp (goats); Reajean Riegel and Sandy Wade (rabbits); Mena Showman and Marie Vaughn (poultry); Gwynna Reinhardt (sheep); and Justin and Kyle Walter (swine) to conduct the weigh-in, showing, auctioning and shipping of the animals. Beth La Shell, new Round Robin Showmanship superintendent, instituted a fan favorite with a new PeeWee showmanship contest for children 3 to 7 years old, which is sure to become a staple of the fair.
Calvin Story, livestock auctioneer, and his crew, who all donate their services so the children get maximum dollar for their efforts, did a fantastic job of making sure the 4-H and FFA members receive top dollar for auction animals in this era of a down economy.
4-H and FFA members can't thank the buyers and add-on contributors enough.
A total of more than 100 4-H volunteers gave their time and efforts to support the 4-H portions of the fair. The 4-H Horse Show, under the direction of superintendent Carol Queen, uses as many as 15 volunteers to conduct their two-day show. Twenty-four volunteers, most of them La Plata County 4-H alumni, assist with judging and interviewing each and every one of the more than 250 4-H and FFA members with livestock record books. On 4-H Contest Day, Sandy Wade, Linda Boulder and Billie Salzer spent almost a full day listening to and critiquing 40 4-H demonstrations - the largest number in years. Linda Meisner, another volunteer, judged both the Creative Cooks and the Cake Decorating contests that day.
A separate group of 25 volunteer clerks, under the supervision of Barbara Barnes, Agnes Dale, Emma Shock, Laura Pargin and Carol Little, assisted with the entering and monitoring the judging of the multitude of General, Natural Resources and Home Economics 4-H projects that were judged by 18 judges, many of whom volunteer their time.
Probably the largest undertaking involving volunteers is the annual Community 4-H BBQ Cook-Off, which was held the Saturday of fair. Under the supervision of Wendy Rice, Melody Semler and Sandie Marlatt, and with the help of just about every 4-H family in the county, the barbecue went off very smoothly until the end, when we ran out of meat. Our sincere apologies to those who didn't get served. It's estimated that more than 1,200 people were served by our corporate sponsors: Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, La Plata Electric Association and Chevron.
Special thanks to all those who volunteered their time and to the fairgrounds and Extension staffs for their efforts to make the best better and for making my last La Plata County Fair as your 4-H agent a stress-free and truly enjoyable one.
email@example.com or 382-6460. Bob Salzer is La Plata County 4-H Youth Development Agent.