Pipi's Pasture: County fair show boxes hold a wealth of memories



Diane Prather

Recently, I was looking at a photograph of two steers in a barn stall at the fairgrounds during the county fair. Also in the photo was a rather large wooden show box, painted green with a 4-H clover on the side.

The show box was in front of the stall (where exhibitors usually place their show boxes). The photo got me to thinking about the show boxes so that’s the subject of this week’s “From Pipi’s Pasture.”

For readers who are not acquainted with livestock competitions, a show box is usually large and has a hinged lid on top. Sometimes there’s a tray inside that has compartments and can be lifted out. The show box is used to hold livestock supplies and equipment needed during competitions.

When I started showing animals at the Moffat County Fair all those years ago, my dad, Kenneth Osborn, made my show box. He sanded the box and then stained the wood. It was not very large — not like most show boxes today — but it was big enough to hold combs and brushes and show halters.

So just for fun, I wondered what todays show boxes might have in them. I asked our granddaughter, Megan Prather, what she keeps in hers. (Megan has two show boxes — one large one for beef animals and another for sheep and swine.)

Together, Megan and I came up with the following items that might be found in a show box during livestock competitions:

• Show halters

• Rope halters

• Hoof clippers

• Hoof polish

• Allergy medicine

• Animal combs and brushes

• Human combs and brushes

• Human makeup bag

• Shampoo

• Roll of paper towels

• Bottled water

• Rags

• Ten dollars in change

• Bag of French fries (left from lunch)

• Taco (left from lunch)

• Wet wipes

• Tape (to hang signs)

• Markers

• Lotion and perfume

• Spandex lamb sock

• Canvas

• Blanket pins

• Animal moisturizer

• Fans

• Extension cards

• Charger for cell phone

• Wire

• Wire cutter

• Pocket knife

• Shaving cream

• Camera

• Cell phone

• Colored glasses

• Hand clippers

• Electrical clippers

• Gatorade

• Jacket

• Rubber gloves

• Cloth towels

• Wool cards

• Book (to read in down time)

• Extra show clothes

• Ribbons won during the show

• Breath mints

• Chewing gum

• Hairspray

Besides all of this, the show box holds memories. Sometimes when exhibitors open their show boxes, they just may think about animals they’ve shown, friends they made over the years and some of their experiences. If my old show box could talk, it would tell about county fairs and other competitions of years ago, but also about experiences involving our sons, Jody and Jamie, since they used show boxes, too.

And then our grandchildren, Kenny and Megan, used it for a short period of time before they got their own show boxes. What a lot of years have passed since Dad made that show box!


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