BY VERONICA COONS
LARNED — It’s been an exciting week for fairgoers and exhibitors at the Pawnee County Fair.
“As with any fair, we have to adapt to the environmental changes we’re faced with,” said Mike Burdett, Pawnee County Fair Board member. “Some of our events were rain delayed, others moved inside, and others, like our ranch rodeo, went forward with modified rules.”
Wednesday morning, bright and early, animals were unloaded into the barn, and later that evening checked and weighed in. Wednesday night, the 4-H and Open Horse Show started under dark skies, the final events delayed until Friday when lightning, thunder and heavy showers inundated the field.
Thursday morning saw the return of the 4-H and Open swine, sheep, and goat and shepherd’s lead shows bright and early, followed by a legislative coffee hour and 4-H food sale. The rabbit and poultry show and the shepherd’s lead shows were held in the afternoon, finishing up in time for the ice cream social sponsored by the Larned Vet Clinic and Bar F Farms.
Larned photographer Janet Fleske spent many hours capturing highlights from many of the livestock shows and events. She was there Thursday night for the 4-H and Open Bucket Calf and Feeder shows.
“The open bucket calf show was a hit as always with probably 16 entries,” she said. “Open class and 4-H entries were thick in photos, arts and crafts, and foods. This year, there were also many quilts and gardening projects.”
Friday morning, heifers and market steers took the ring.
“We had a tremendous beef show (Friday) morning, both with heifers and market steer,” Fleske reported.
Then, in the evening the pedal tractor pull and watermelon feed were held at the same time, Burdett said, with many enjoying the sweet and refreshing treat.
The ranch rodeo scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday night was delayed a little over an hour. The rodeos differ from traditional rodeos as they showcase real-life ranch skills. Officials modified the rules so teams were only required to enter the then muddy field one time. Normally, the three events, calf branding, team doctoring and team penning being held consecutively, three calves were put in the coral, and the events were done all at the same time.
“There is good local participation, so we like our ranch rodeo,” Burdett said.
Laser tag, planned as an outdoor event, was also moved to the livestock arena in the barn.
But, one event wouldn’t suffer from the rain, Burdett said. There was plenty of water and mud present Saturday afternoon in advance of the pig wrestling event planned to be held at 7 p.m. Saturday night. Participants, both young and old, had to plan ahead, either bringing a change of clothes or planning to head for home after their turn. Prizes were awarded in two divisions, 13 and under, and 14 and older. All divisions also received awards for best costumes.
Saturday brought adults and kids to the fairgrounds for a 5K race, a bike rodeo and alumni fitting and showing contest. A new event which at first glance appeared to be a tailgate competition was underway in the afternoon. A nationally sanctioned steak cook-off event had mouths watering as 19 teams competed for first place and a chance to move on to the national championship in Texas.
The evening brought two of the most anticipated events, the Glenn Mull Family Memorial 4-H Livestock Premium Sale, followed by the Livestock Buyers Dinner. Then, for those sticking around, local musician Chaz Beckwith wouldn’t disappoint with his show starting at 9 p.m., sounding the final notes to a fun and exciting silver anniversary fair.
“It’s the people, the exhibitors, the volunteers, the sponsors and all the people who come to the fair that make it the successful event it has been for the past 25 years,” Burdett said. “We are so appreciative of each and every one of them.”