Once, always, and old habits
July 25, 2014

What time is it? SHOW TIME!
What time is it? SHOW TIME!

This blog post is about what I did for community service. Upon my arrival here in Kansas, I started thinking about what I could do for my service hours. My supervisor, Mary, happened to tell me that their county fair was towards the beginning of July. As many of y’all probably know how the saying goes, once a 4-Her, always a 4-Her. Immediately I started snooping around to try to find out who I should contact about volunteering with the 4-Hers during the county fair. I ended up getting in touch with Susie Latta with the Marshall County Extension Service and she helped me figure out what I could do to help out during the fair. My service began with fair clean-up the Tuesday before the fair. As a former 4-Her, I know how much clean-up day is dreaded by everyone and just how much work really goes into getting everything fair ready. I was back on Friday evening again once the fair got going in full swing to help check in arts and crafts exhibits. Marshall County has some pretty creative 4-Hers! Friday night the saying, “Once a 4Her, always a 4-Her” really struck home as I watched kid after kid bring in their 4-H exhibits and ask where they needed to check in their open class exhibits at. After hearing, “Where do open class projects go?” for probably the twentieth time, it donned on me. Even though I’m from out of state, I can still enter projects in the open class division. Then I remembered that out of all of my art projects that I did during the course of my senior year, I left most of them with my dad when I moved. Except one. I refused to leave one of my paintings at home. It’s one of my favorite ones and I though it would look good in my dorm room at college. It just so happened to still be in my pickup as well. So needless to say, I sprinted out to my pickup and grabbed my painting and made a dash into Floral Hall where open class exhibits were being checked in. I ended up receiving a blue ribbon on it too. Saturday evening I was back again helping 4-Hers prepare for the sheep and meat goat show.

This little girl is 4 years old with a 42 pound lamb in open class.
This little girl is 4 years old with a 42 pound lamb in open class.

I gave them last minute tips and a quick quiz of commonly asked questions prior to their entering of the show ring.

Questions about ear notches are really common during swine shows, yet many don't know how to read ear notches. This question can be what makes or breaks you during a showmanship class.
Questions about ear notches are really common during swine shows, yet many don’t know how to read ear notches. This question can be what makes or breaks you during a showmanship class.

Sunday morning I was back at the fairgrounds before 6a.m. to help 4-Hers wash hogs and get ready for the show which was set to start at 7:30a.m. For those of you that know me pretty well, you know that I really love pigs. Waking up at 5:30a.m. to go wash pigs was an easy task for me, and I was the first one in the barn that morning.

Intermediate Swine Showmanship
Intermediate Swine Showmanship

Old habits die hard. The dairy cow show followed the swine show, and it was really awesome to be able to sit down and enjoy watching my friends show.

Little 5 year old boy answers questions about his holstein calf with the judge.
Little 5 year old boy answers questions about his holstein calf with the judge.

Monday and Tuesday were both spent all day at the fair. Monday night was spent teaching a new friend some new swing dance flips and dips to a live band. Tuesday morning was the livestock judging contest. Originally, I was supposed to be scoring cards in the office, but at Susie’s last minute decision, they signed me up to judge and I took off running with two minutes left of the first class. I ended up placing 10th out of 42 in the Adult division. Not too shabby for a very last minute decision. Tuesday was probably my favorite day at the fair. I got to participate in the livestock judging contest, get to hang out and make new friends, decorate a friend’s cow with a happy birthday banner, watch the fashion review, help a friend get their steer ready for the premium sale, and go on the carnival rides with friends after the sale.

SURPRISE! Happy birthday, Tracy cakes!
SURPRISE! Happy birthday, Tracy cakes!

So many memories were made on Tuesday and I made some life-long friends at the fair. I believe choosing to give back my service to the local 4-H program was definitely a wonderful idea and was a great fit for me. I really enjoyed myself at the fair, and I was thanked countless times by 4-Hers as well as their families and strangers for helping out during the fair.

I love taking pictures of ferris wheels at night. There's just something breathtaking about the way they light up the night.
I love taking pictures of ferris wheels at night. There’s just something breathtaking about the way they light up the night.

I plan on returning to the Marshall County fair again in the future and helping out in whatever way I can again.  We all bleed the same shade of green and four-leaf clovers have a deeper meaning to us. At the end of the day we 4-Hers, even though we may be from different states, still pledged our head to clearer thinking, our hearts to greater loyalty, our hands to larger service, and our health to better living for our club, our community, our country, and our world.