Moffat County Fair's dedicated volunteers

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Diane Prather can be reached at 824-8809 or by writing to her at Box 415, Craig 81626.

The Carcass Contest has just taken place.

The boxes of items to be sorted, like ones from the pavilion judging (that are filled with such items as can openers, plastic spoons, paper plates, tape, staplers, scoring sheets and ribbons) have been returned to the Moffat County Extension Office.

There's a whole bunch of paperwork to be done, and qualifying general category 4-H projects have to be packed up for the Colorado State Fair.

But essentially, the Moffat County Fair is over for another year and a huge success it was, too.

With 4-H Completion Day, the Shooting Sports Contest and other events held before the week of Aug. 1, the fair went on for about two weeks, and it makes a person wonder just how many people it takes to put on such a big event and to do it so successfully year after year.

Besides the CSU Cooperative Extension staff, an incredible number of volunteers help with the fair, before, during and after the event.

Just how many people help altogether is unknown.

However, Moffat County Fair director Carol Haskins said that 60 people, including the superintendents, worked in the pavilion during open class judging day alone.

Fair volunteers come from every walk of life.

Among others, there are ranchers, farmers, homemakers, bankers, insurance agents, veterinarians, teachers and 4-H leaders. And they're of all ages, too, from young people to grandparents.

It's a community working together, indeed.

What do all of the fair volunteers have in common? For starters, they're all dedicated.

Imagine taking vacation time from work to help with the fair.

That's just what some of the volunteers do and have been doing for some years. In addition, volunteers often are members of the Fair Board or 4-H Foundation. That means attending monthly meetings and other events that promote the fair.

The Fair Board reaches out to other individuals, too. For example, planning for the 2010 Moffat County Fair begins now, when members consider input from volunteers concerning changes that might improve the fair. And certainly the Fair Board reaches out to 4-H leaders.

Fair Board committees work on various aspects of the fair all year long, like the big job of arranging for family entertainment during fair week.

Haskins said that each fall she and one or two Fair Board members attend the Colorado Association of Fairs and Shows, during which time variety acts showcase their talents.

That's where they found the Stilts Man who was at this year's fair, only one example of the entertainment.

Some fair volunteers are "idea generators," people who have a knack for coming up with clever ideas, from the way the tables are arranged in the pavilion (to show off exhibits) to planning a turkey bowling event.

Whoever heard of bowling with a frozen turkey?

What would a fair be without hamburgers, cotton candy, and cold drinks?

Vendors have to be signed up for the fair, too, and information gotten out so others can bring in their booths.

Barbecues, a pancake breakfast, cook-off contests, equipment rodeo, and lots of other events have to be planned, too, as well as all of the judging events, and volunteers help carry them out. And volunteers help prepare the fair book by taking photos and writing stories.

This is just "scratching the surface."

Besides being dedicated, volunteers like to work with people of all ages. That's pretty apparent when watching a fair superintendent, who helps an an exhibitor with an entry, by answering a question like, "What do I have to do to put on the label for this jar of green beans?"

Sometimes, fair superintendents have to make decisions that aren't popular, too, and it takes special people to be able to handle such situations diplomatically.

Love of kids is evident during the livestock shows and Junior Livestock Sale when superintendents and ring men are there to help kids who get knocked down by their steers or to keep pigs from fighting or to help get a stubborn goats to lead or lots of other similar situations.

And the organization of the livestock sale is pretty remarkable. Volunteers help keep kids and animals lined up so there's no gap between the time one animal sells and another enters the ring.

Animals are moved in and out of the ring smoothly and pictures taken in a timely manner.

All of this takes plenty of volunteers.

The night of the sale, standing tall in white shirts, the ring men help the auctioneers get every bit of money possible for the kids' 4-H and FFA animals, no matter whether it's a pen of chickens or a 1,300 pound steer.

Dedicated volunteers, indeed.

The Moffat County Fair will miss Frank "Pud" Stetson, Kimball Frentress and Carol Jacobson, all three dedicated individuals who gave generously of their time in helping with the fair.

Copyright Diane Prather, 2009. All rights reserved.

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