From Pipi’s Pasture: Remembering the Moffat County Fair
The Moffat County Fair is going on right now, and I can’t help but remember those years when my siblings and I were in 4-H and exhibited our animals and other projects at the fair. Actually, my sister, Charlotte, and I are only two years apart in age so we participated in the fairs together — Darlene and Duane came along a little later.
There are so many memories about the fair, but I chose three of them. The first is finishing the record books. They had to be completed before the fair. That’s when they were judged and exhibited.
To say that I hated to work on those record books is to put it mildly, at least when I was younger. I put it off as long as possible. Mom stood over me. Sometimes I cried. There weren’t so many pages to complete. As I recall there were inventory, expenses, dates of work done with the animals, 4-H activities, a story and photo pages. Right now I can’t think of reasons that I hated record book work so much.
In those days we had a record book for each animal and record books for other projects. Today, 4-Hers put records for all animals in one book. Our granddaughter, Megan, just completed her livestock record book with information about her sheep, swine and beef animals — 91 pages in all! What did I have to complain about?
After our record books were completed, our attention turned to grooming our animals. I had only beef animals, but Charlotte also had sheep. I don’t remember much about what she did to groom them, but I do remember the beef.
First, Dad helped us shave the hair off their faces. Then he helped trim their feet. Next, we washed them for the first time, the first of several washes. We tied the heifers and steers to the backyard fence. We mixed detergent into buckets of warm water. We rinsed them with the hose.
Sometimes the animals slipped out of their halters and ran off. I can remember Dad hanging onto a steer’s neck. What a sudsy, slippery mess. I don’t recall how he got the escape animals stopped.
And then I remember the weather. In those years the fair was held around the middle of August. When we left early to feed the animals at the fairgrounds, the air was quite cool and it was also dark.
No matter how cool the mornings were, the afternoons turned hot, and sometimes the clouds came up and there were cloudbursts. I can remember hearing rain and hail on the barn roof at the fairgrounds. Sometimes it was during the Junior Livestock Sale.
I particularly remember one year when we were on our way home from the fair. It was a Sunday afternoon. Dad was ahead of us in our pickup truck with stockracks. He had at least one heifer in the truck. Charlotte and I were following behind him in some vehicle. Charlotte was driving, so we were in our later teens.
When we weren’t far from Hamilton, we came upon mud and rocks that had come down into the road during a “gully-washer” that had occurred since we had gone to Craig that morning. The highway was only partially cleared. I remember Dad coming back to tell Charlotte how to drive through the mess.
These are so many other memories!
Finally this week, a note about last week’s column. Sometime during the print process, someone decided that “eleven o’clock,” at the end of the column, wasn’t correct grammar. “O’clock” was changed to “p.m.” The only trouble was that we moved cows in the “a.m.” I hope readers realize that I know we didn’t move the cows at night!
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