Road to the county fair: Nerves, excitement surround the start of Weld County Fair | TheFencePost.com

Road to the county fair: Nerves, excitement surround the start of Weld County Fair

Samantha Fox
sfox@greeleytribune.com

It's a mix of excitement and nerves for 4-H kids going into fair week.

The official Weld County Fair kick-off is Wednesday, so the past few days have been filled with final preparations and weigh-ins before everyone travels to Island Grove Regional Park, 501 N. 14th Ave.

This is the week 4-H kids will show the first of the animals they've worked with all summer. The remaining animals should see a trip to the state fair in late August.

Since it will be Sydnee Lauridson's first time at the Weld Fair as a 4-H participant, she's nervous.

"I'm kind of excited, but I'm a little scared," the 8-year-old from Brighton said. "I just get scared sometimes and then I get happy about showing."

Nerves aren't reserved for the rookies, though. Molly Cooksey, 18, of Roggen said she felt the same way. While excited, Cooksey said there was still so much to do she couldn't help but feel a bit overwhelmed — especially since the to-do list had to wait until closer to the fair.

Recommended Stories For You

"My family gets a little bit more nervous and stressed every year, because we're getting less sleep because we're in the barn more," Cooksey said. "Plus there is just so many last-minute things we have to do before we head up there."

Sydnee and big sister Macey, 13, will bring two pigs and three lambs. Sydnee said showing her lamb might be a challenge because of her short stature, but she's had time to work and prep for that.

This week will be the first time the two will show their lambs, but they've had more showmanship practice with their pigs. The family doesn't show lambs at jackpots because the animals can pick up diseases pretty easily. Since the sisters had the chance to test their pigs in a show, they got tips on what to improve on.

This will be Macey's fifth year as a 4-H competitor, so the first-year jitters don't affect her like they do Sydnee. But the stress of the workload leading up to fair doesn't change.

"There's so much to do," Macey said. "We have to get them to the right weight and (keep) feeding them right. So it's stressful."

The girls selected their three lambs based on which ones were fair-ready. They keep track of the weight and appearance as they grow, so they know how much they need to feed and work with them for exercise.

At this point in the game, though, there is only so much weight that can be gained or lost in time. That's why fair preparation throughout the summer is so important.

When showing cattle, aesthetics are almost, if not equally, important as the muscle and feel. Cooksey will have three breeding heifers and three market steers to show this week, all show-ready.

As this is Cooksey's 10th fair, she knows what to expect and how to prepare her animals for show. To get the hair workable, it takes a lot of time blowing it and training it.

And, according to Cooksey, the hair on her steers and heifers are in the best condition she's seen it.

"I've been spending more time out in the barn, rinsing and brushing and blowing them more," Cooksey said. "I think their hair is pretty well trained, they're all ready to go."

— Samantha Fox is a reporter and designer for The Fence Post. "Road to the county fair" is a weekly column series that includes six Weld County 4-H participants as they prepare and compete at the 2016 Weld County Fair. Reach Samantha at sfox@greeleytribune.com or connect with her at @FoxonaFarm on Twitter.

Tuesday at the Weld County Fair

The pre-fair events are ongoing Tuesday:

8 a.m., 4H Horse Show Western, Grandstand Arena.

1 p.m., Weld County Goat Breeders-Bred and Fed Market Goat Show, Event Center

1 p.m., Open Class Better Living Exhibits, judging, open to the public, Events Center west meeting rooms.

3 p.m. 4-H Horse Show Timed Events, Grandstand Arena.

The official kick off is Wednesday.

•••

Weld County Fair Cowboy Church

The service will be at 8 a.m. Sunday in the Pavilion at Island Grove Regional Park, 501 N. 14th Ave.

Praise and worship will be led by Scott Brown, a PRCA calf roper and steer wrestler. Brown is a minister at a cowboy church in Ringgold, Ga.