Moffat County’s 100th Fair: From Pipi’s Pasture: Remembering Moffat County Fairs
It has been some years since I was a 4-H member, exhibiting at the Moffat County Fair. When I was a kid, an 8-year-old could join 4-H as an associate member. I don’t remember what the difference was between an associate member and a regular member, but I signed up and joined the Hamilton Busy Beavers 4-H Club.
That would have been about 1950. My first project was beef breeding, and I raised and showed a Hereford bull I named Sharkey. I think I was the only entry in my class at the fair, and I received a red ribbon because Sharkey had too much white on him. Ranchers who raised Herefords were picky about that sort of thing in those days. After the fair, I sold Sharkey to Uncle Kermit instead of putting him back with our herd of cattle. Boy, I cried about having to part with him.
After that first year, I started feeding steers and showing heifers that grew up to be cows. Some years, I fed several steers. My sister, Charlotte, joined me in the livestock projects. She showed cattle, too, but really excelled with her sheep. I don’t honestly remember if our sister, Darlene, was in 4-H in those days, and our brother, Duane, was only an infant when I was in my teens.
When we were showing beef at the fair, the winning steers were short and stocky, like a box, and very fat, often prime. The steers were beautiful as they were led into the show arena. As is typical for the cattle industry, the desired type of fat beef changed by the time my boys were 4-H exhibitors. Judges were looking for a taller, leaner animal. Though I haven’t kept up with show cattle lately, I think judges may again be looking for a “box” type animal.
The first Junior Livestock sales were very different when I first joined 4-H. Exhibitors hoped to get market price for their steers — how different things are today.
Charlotte and I also enrolled in projects other than livestock. She enjoyed cooking and sewing. I completed projects in entomology, first aid, home nursing and home furnishings. In our first years in
4-H, these projects were judged in the pavilion during the days livestock competition was taking place. There was no special day for them. Record books were judged then, too, and put on display.
Another difference between the earlier fair years and today was that organizations competed for booth awards. Organizations adorned their booths with crepe paper and other decorations. After the open exhibits were judged, organization members put their entries and ribbons in the booths.
What I remember most about the Moffat County Fair was that wonderful feeling of anticipation and excitement as the days to the fair drew nearer. We looked forward to the competition and to spending time with our fellow 4-Hers. I can remember the feeling, but, strangely enough, I can’t “bring it up” again.
Happy 100th, Moffat County Fair!
On a cool autumn afternoon in 1914 Hayden, a human being was seen occupying space previously reserved for only birds, clouds and celestial bodies. It was a monumental occasion — one that shook the very fiber of reality for the people of Northwest Colorado.