The Moffat County Fair is a prime time for kids to show off their hard work raising impressive animals. But, it goes off without a hitch because of hardworking volunteers who help participants present their animals without upset.
Keith Pankey has been helping out in the fair arena for 28 years now. He started because his son wanted to get involved in 4-H, but he stayed because being a superintendent remained meaningful.
“I got to know a lot of good people. It was something I enjoyed with my family. And now my grandkids are doing it,” he said.
His role is to help children lead their animals around the ring and make sure everything goes smoothly. Sometimes a steer will get ornery, Pankey said, so he makes sure the kid is safe and not too wound up.
“Once in a while (the animal) gets away. I try to calm the kids,” he said. “There was an unruly steer today, and the little gal got knocked down.”
Pankey calmly told her that it was ok, and that there was no need to cry. It’s a simple job, but one that keeps the participants and fair-goers in high spirits.
“For the most part I try to give them a little bit of guidance, a little bit of help,” he said.
And he said he values what the fair does for children in the community.
“Kids learn to take care of and have compassion for animals,” he said.
Pankey said he was honored when the Moffat County Fair was dedicated to him and his wife in 2008.
“He does an awesome job,” said Amanda St. Martin another fair superintendent. “He’s always here whenever you need help.”
Working with livestock and on ranches all his life, it meant a lot to him to be recognized for the work he’s put back into the community, he said. Pankey has been president for the fair board for a year and spent roughly 20 years as an officer with the Cattlemen. Since 1990 he’s owned and worked on his own land. He said it’s gratifying work, and through the fair, he’s remained connected to the community.
“I just like good honest, hard working families. And that’s what we find (at the fair,)” Pankey said.
Erin Fenner can be reached at 970-875-1794 or firstname.lastname@example.org