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The MC Fair’s Livestock Shows allow youth to shine

By Chad Hobbs

 This past Monday the Meade County Fair entered day two of its abbreviated schedule due to the pandemic regulations. As a lifelong attendee of the fair, it would be remiss not to say that it hardly seemed like it was fair week pulling into the parking lot. There was no bustle around the food booths, no carnival set up, the main arena had grass growing sporadically throughout it and to be honest, it felt more like pulling into a ghost town with the exception of a few randomly parked vehicles throughout the fairgrounds. It was almost as if I’d shown up at the wrong place, at the wrong time.

 Thankfully, as I made my way around the arena and approached the livestock barns, that all quickly changed. Trucks with livestock trailers and vehicles suddenly came into my vision, but even then it was evident something was amiss. Welcome to 2020 is all that needed to be said.

 It didn’t take long for that to disappear, though, once I was out of my vehicle. The hot July weather, consistent with fair time, quickly slapped me in the face, as a story line unfolded at the back of the fairgrounds much different from the front of the property. Meade County youth and their families were abuzz, preparing their hogs to be called for their turn at the show ring. It suddenly felt a little more like the fair, albeit different.

 Usually the livestock shows up at the beginning of the week and stays for several days. Due to social distancing regulations along with gathering rules this year, each species has its day and nothing more. There would be no wash pens to prepare animals the day of the show. Contestants could not bring their animals onto the property until that morning and had to leave with their animal at the end of the show. This is the reality of this year. The hogs needed to be moved out so the facilities could be cleaned and sanitized to make way for the goats and sheep on Tuesday, which would get the same treatment to make way for the beef cattle on Wednesday.

 Despite the logistical headache of it all for the fair board and the frustrations of many in the general public over their favored “events” being cancelled, it didn’t take long, walking around the show area Monday, to realize it was worth it in the end. This is, unfortunately, a year of sacrifice to say the least, but if anyone should benefit from small windows of normalcy, it should, after all, be the youth.

 That is exactly what the fair board made happen this year, often at their own peril. One of the best county fairs in the state doesn’t just happen. It takes long hours of meetings, discussions, planning and hard work, not to mention a small army of volunteers, to make the show come together each year. Talking with many of the board members on site Monday, it was all too apparent the disappointment they felt for what wouldn’t be this year, along with the headache of dealing with a handful of unrealistic members of the community that would rather complain than have an ounce of decency or understanding.

 That all dissipated once the youth began to be called to the arena. I