Memories of the Moffat County Fair

Diane Prather

Diane Prather's columns appear in the Craig Daily Press and Saturday Morning Press. You can call her at 824-8809.

Finishing up the hay and the Moffat County Fair - it seems that's what rural county residents have been up to this past week. At least, that's what I found when trying to contact people about some stories I have in the works.

So I turned back the years, remembering the Moffat County Fair when I was a 4-H member (more years ago than I care to think about) and the immediate years following. See if any of these hold memories for you, too.

I remember:

• The fair was held in late August, perhaps even in early September.

• Sometimes there was a light frost on everything when we left early each morning to feed the animals at the fair.

• "Wild" hay and perhaps some second cutting was ready during this time, so Dads divided their time between haying and helping at the fair.

• It often rained at fair time, sometimes during the Junior Livestock Sale, and we could hear the rain pounding down on the barn's metal roof.

• We would take some time away from the fair to register for high school and buying our school supplies because school started the following week.

• 4-H and open exhibits were displayed in the pavilion, and rabbits and poultry were put in cages under the outside part of the grandstand.

• All of the community booths in the pavilion were filled with judged exhibits that came from those communities.

Further, I remember:

• being soaked while washing animals on the wash rack

• getting flipped in the face with a soapy cow's tail (perhaps on purpose)

• those times (usually at home just before the fair) when a soapy cow or steer got loose and took off, and how hard it is to hold onto a slippery animal

• how we used bluing in the water to make a cow's tail whiter

• the time I washed a white chicken for the fair, put too much bluing in the water and turned him blue

• trying to keep freshly groomed animals from lying down right before show time

• the humiliation of having a weary steer lie down right in the middle of the show ring

• kids getting comfort from their dads after being stepped on by 1,000-pound fat steers

• the night a steer went crazy during the Junior Livestock Sale, got into the auctioneer's stand, and knocked over Florence Van Tassel, who was keeping books, and she had to get stitches in her head and have her broken glasses repaired

• trying to keep one eye on the judge all the time while leading a steer around the show ring

• frustration at pigs that just wouldn't cooperate during Round Robin Showmanship

• Homer Wilson's humor (often comments about politicians) while auctioneering during the Junior Livestock Sale

• Kenneth Osborn and Earl Van Tassel taking bids in the sale ring for all those 30 or more years

• watching a sheep trying to steal a lick from a spectator's popsicle

• Marion Jones' special barbecued meat, served up on buns, just before the Junior Livestock Sale

• trying to convince exhibit animals to eat and drink in an environment they weren't used to

• the Parade of Champions on the track the evening before the Junior Livestock Sale and chasing down those that got loose

• and all those tears from exhibitors during and following the Junior Livestock Sale

I also remember:

• wearing brand new clothes at the fair

• getting together with friends and neighbors

• trying to stay awake long enough to attend the after-the-livestock-sale dance

• learning how to be a good sport

• turning breeding livestock out into the pasture the day after the fair only to have them run to the closest dirt pile and rub their pretty white faces in it

• and how empty the corrals seemed right after the fair.

All those years ago :

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