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Pawnee County Fair tradition continues
Paisley Steffen bucket
Paisley Steffen keeps an eye on the judge in the Open Class Bucket Calf show. - photo by Janet Fleske Special to the Tribune

The Pawnee County Fair wrapped up Saturday, ending a week of 4-H and Open Class showings as well as other fun events, including a watermelon feed, community carnival, steak cook-off competition and a hot rod mini-tractor pull. The fair may be steeped in tradition, but you never know what you’ll see, as Pawnee County Extension Agent Kyle Grant noted.

There was a first at this year’s poultry show, when Griffin Cowell brought a male peacock, Grant said. There was also a female peacock entered in the Open Class.

“We’ve had a really good turnout,” Grant said. Saturday’s children’s events included a bicycle rodeo sponsored by the Pawnee County Sheriff’s Office.

“We’ve got a lot of good activities going on,” Pawnee County Fair Board member Mike Burdett said Saturday morning. While the fair is centered on exhibits, a new event was the hot rod mini-tractor pull Saturday evening at the fairgrounds.

Friday evening there was a community carnival with kids’ games and a baby goat to pet.

Also Friday, Addison Pelton from Burdett celebrated her birthday with her fair entry winning Supreme Female and Reserve Grand Champion Market Steer, according to Great Bend Tribune contributor Janet Fleske. 

“She and her little brother, Brody, showed against each other, and Brody won Grand Champion Market Steer, and Addison received Reserve Grand,” Fleske said.

Ross McNett, who has been showing sheep since he has been in 4-H, is aging out this year after graduating from Larned High School in May. Fleske said McNett finally won Grand Champion Market Lamb after years of trying. “He told me that the award meant so much to him and that it was really special because he never gave up and just kept showing.” 

Fleske took photos for the newspaper throughout the fair.

Alea Makings, another LHS graduate, took a business training class with Country Seasons Flower Shop in Larned this spring and learned how to make floral creations. This class helped her to create a centerpiece for the fair, and she received a champion ribbon for it. She also received Grand Champion Market Hog and Grand Champion Swine Showman.

Saturday morning events also included 2-mile and 5K runs, Round Robin Showmanship of the best livestock, and an SCA steak cook-off. The winner of the competition sanctioned by the Steak Cookoff Association will have a spot in the championships at Fort Worth, Texas, Grant said. 

Saturday’s Alumni Livestock Competition was a fundraiser where parents and grandparents of 4-Hers could be nominated to show one of the fair animals.

“It’s a fun event,” Burdett said. “It’s all about raising money for the 4-H kids in Pawnee County to go to 4-H camp.

While most of the animals for the show belonged to 4-Hers, Deputy Kendal Lothman from the Pawnee County Sheriff’s Office brought a set of mules. Fair Board members were able to persuade Sheriff Scott King to show a mule.

The winner of the alumni event was Gage Skelton, a fair board member who aged out of 4-H two years ago. Dressed in red, white and blue overalls, Skelton showed a 4-Her’s steer. 

A few post-fair events remain, starting with the release of exhibits and the cleanup of the exhibit center and livestock barn Sunday morning. On Tuesday there will be a carcass show at 7 p.m. at B&B Quality Meats and 4-Hers will celebrate their hard work with a swim party at the Larned pool.