Livestock shows keep family busy
The Wallen family of Trafalgar won’t have many dull moments this week.
Monika, 15, and her brother Travis, 13, are showing a total of 18 animals this week at the fair, including sheep, cattle, pigs and goats.
The schedule can be a little hectic, but the people running the various livestock shows usually help them deal with any conflicts, their father, Rob Wallen, said.
“We bounce from barn to barn. It takes a lot of teamwork between the kids, my wife (Kelly) and me. It’s crazy,” he said. “The superintendents are nice enough to hold things up a little bit and let the kids catch up. It’s about the kids anyway.”
Kelly Wallen likes the character development her children get from the projects and competition.
“It gives them a lot of responsibility. They learn that to do well they have to work hard,” she said. “They also learn to accept losses well and to be gracious if they win.”
Their farm operation at home involves raising hogs, cattle and sheep as well, meaning they can’t stay overnight at the fairgrounds like others do, Kelly Wallen said.
“We still have animals at home to take care of,” she said.
Travis Wallen and his sister will tease each other during the year about who is going to be better in the competitions at the fair and who will earn more money from the sale of their animals. On Monday, both won their division for Showmanship in the sheep category.
“The judge is judging you, instead of your lamb,” Monika Wallen said. “Sometimes they ask questions about how well you know about the animals, like what they weigh and what they like to eat.”
4-H youth projects interest shifting
Over the years, the projects 4-H’ers turn in have changed.
Nearly 2,000 non-livestock projects are on display at the fairgrounds this week. The number and type of entries reflect changing interests among youth, said Ashley Schultz, the Johnson County Extension educator for 4-H and youth development.
“Our numbers have shifted a lot. Photography is our most popular as far as number of entries goes, whereas sewing for instance has gone down,” Schultz said. “It’s just not a skill that a lot of people are passing down.”
Schultz credited Pinterest and similar websites with promoting interest in crafts and other creative projects, such as cake-decorating and card-making.
More than 1,900 non-livestock projects were submitted by 511 kids in 89 categories. In comparison, 565 have entered animals in competitions.
Non-livestock projects are on display at Scott Hall, Magill Hall, Fitzpatrick Hall and the Shooting Sports Building.
Boy Scouts handle parking for fairgoers
Most days are uneventful for the Boy Scouts who guide people to their parking space at the fair.
But they all remember when something goes wrong.
Boy Scout Troop 266 of Greenwood helps manage parking at the fair.
As cars come in, the young men will guide motorists to the appropriate spot in the large grassy area on the northwest side of the fairgrounds.
The Scouts work regular shifts, which almost always go by without incident, said assistant scoutmaster Michael Hughes.
“Someone drove through a (partition) rope once,” he said. “A lady came through and, she said she didn’t see the boys trying to stop her. She charged through, and it snapped off the antenna from the car.”
No one was hurt in the incident.
Just a reminder: The speed limit at the fairgrounds is 10 mph.