Volunteers are the heart of county fairs







By: Courtney Schaardt

The Johnson County Fair had 15 swine exhibitors. At the Johnson County Fair I was able to talk to the Grand Champion Senior Swine Showman, Reba Hesterman. This is also Reba’s last year to show in 4-H. One thing I asked Reba was how was she a leader for the rest of the kids showing at her fair. She responded by saying that there was someone who didn’t know how to drive their pig so she took the initiative to help them do it the right way.  Reba said that her favorite part from the fair this year was when the judge had the final three people in the ring and they had to walk their pig in between to chairs. She said this was exciting to do because it was a challenge. One thing Reba was proud of is when her sister’s hog won the county fair. She felt that was an honor because it made their hogs as a whole look good.

At the fair I was able to talk to people about the pork producers and the mentoring program. I loved talking to everyone about something that I am so passionate about. While I was talking to Reba she made the comment that what we do in the mentoring class is a great opportunity. By educating people about pork, we gain support from the community.

While attending the Johnson County fair I feel that their judge put 4-H and county fairs into perspective. He said, “I would rather spend $5,000 on a 4-H project than spend $200 on bail on a Sunday morning.” This really put my own county fair into perspective for me. He went on to say that the volunteers at the fair made the show run smoothly and he thanked the parents for helping all of the kids. It made me realize that as long as I was interested in showing animals at the fair, my parents were willing to help. They were always there as long as my uncles and cousins. Volunteers are the biggest thing it takes to make county fairs work. Without them, neither of these fairs would have gone smoothly.  It was a joy to be able to be a part of this county fair.

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