Archive for Thursday, August 2, 2007

4-H’ers plan to bid projects farewell

Courtney Harris, 17, of the Pioneer 4-H Club gives her hog "Chad" a kiss Wednesday afternoon.  She and many other 4-H members were preparing to show their animals at the Douglas County Fair.

Courtney Harris, 17, of the Pioneer 4-H Club gives her hog "Chad" a kiss Wednesday afternoon. She and many other 4-H members were preparing to show their animals at the Douglas County Fair.

August 2, 2007


Douglas County Fair 2007 animal shows

Amber Laughlin, 18, shows her pig, Chewie. Emory Hubbell, 12, shows his grand champion Red Island Red chicken. Enlarge video

Douglas County Fair all about the animals today

The Douglas County Fair continues and today was all about the animals. Youths from across the county groom, clean, and prepare their livestock for the week's events. Enlarge video

Even though Chad gave her a kiss, 17-year-old Courtney Harris hasn't developed deep feelings for her 238-pound pink pig.

She plans to sell him at the 4-H Livestock Auction on Sunday.

"He cooperates and behaves," the Baldwin High School senior said while shearing him for Wednesday night's show at the Douglas County Fair. Chad isn't like her 269-pound pink pig named Susie who tends to have a mean streak.

She bought the pigs in April and soon will say goodbye. While Chad's fate is a little uncertain, Harris said Susie will fill the family's freezer.

"Most people want ham in the fridge," she said.

Such is life as a 4-H'er. There are 762 animals at the fair this year and they have been tamed, petted, bathed and trimmed.

Jared Fangman, 10, of rural Lawrence, has been working with a sheep named Sharp Eye since he was purchased in April. After spending the past several months taking care of him, Fangman said he would miss him "a little" when he is sold at the auction.

"He's the best lamb that I've had," he said. "Well, except for Arrowhead." That was his sheep last year. His older brother, Simon Fangman, 13, was showing three sheep at the fair.

"They're just livestock," he said of the nameless animals that he plans to show at the state fair in Hutchinson.

But some 4-H'ers admit their fair entries are like pets.

Twelve-year-old Emory Hubbell, who has been showing chickens at the fair for three years, picked 12 to show this year; another 12 remained at home. He was all smiles and giving high-fives Tuesday after his Rhode Island Red won a top ribbon. Although he didn't give his chickens names, Hubbell said, "Of course, I am attached to them. I feed them every day."

Back in the pig barn, 18-year-old Amber Laughlin, of Baldwin City, said she enjoys her black-and-white, 241-pound 4-H project named Chewy.

"She's kind of like a dog," she said about her pig who chews and plays with a plastic basketball. Laughlin purchased the pig in February from an Ottawa farmer and has taken care of her since.

"It's going to be pretty sad," she said of saying goodbye Sunday during the livestock auction.

Laughlin hopes she can talk one of her friends into buying her. "That way I know she will go to a good home."


Katie Van Blaricum 8 years, 3 months ago

god, that's horrible. I don't know how people can do this to their pets.

BikerGrandma 8 years, 3 months ago

Not all animals at the fair are sold. Many are kept and return to the fair the next year or are kept as "pets" at home. Even so, each animal is a learning project for each child. Yes, the first time an animal is sold at auction, it can be tough. 4-H teaches great life lessons to children - commerce, supply/demand, respect for yourself, others and animals among other things. My children were all involved in 4-H from the time they were 7 years old (the youngest, who is competing in his last fair this year, attended his first fair at the ripe old age of 4 months old). I've had teachers and potential employers of my children tell me that they could tell they had been in 4-H. They knew how to dress for an interview, express themself clearly and concisely and were not afraid to speak in front of large groups. Two of my children went to Washington, D.C. with Citzenship Washington Focus. This taught them a great deal. For small town kids, they were able to experience a lot of firsts - first taxi ride, first subway ride, first truly dressy dinner (the first time my son ever had to wear a suit and tie), wonderful museums, etc. For some, including my children, this trip would not have happened but for 4-H. So for those that think this is horrible or tasty (talk about bad taste!), come and talk to some of the kids and parents at the fair this week. I think you will be impressed and learn a lot.

Confrontation 8 years, 3 months ago

I agree with BikerGrandma. While other kids are wasting their brains on video games and MTV, the kids in 4-H are learning to be responsible and respectable.

mom_of_three 8 years, 3 months ago

That doesn't mean that kids who aren't in 4H are wasting their brains on video games and TV.....mine has her nose in a book......

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