Scranton column: It’s only Fair!
We are right in the middle of one of the biggest and coolest events that Moffat County hosts each year. It’s fair week and if you don’t usually, you should wander down to the fairgrounds for a look and feel at an event that brings out the real meaning of fair.
There is all kinds of talk about making sure things are fair and if people get treated fairly and the difference between fairness and equity and equality. But out of the political weeds and in the real world, the annual two-week Moffat County Fair highlights what is really worth considering.
Just about every type and kind of animal that has to do with ranching and agriculture is highlighted over the next 14 days along with contests that feature ranching skills and cooking prowess. Having grown up in the city, this was never something that even entered my wheelhouse but a good friend convinced me to go down and check out the fair. What I saw impressed me, but what I learned was inspiring!
We spend so much time trying to teach children the basics in life: taking responsibility, instilling discipline, how to speak to others, how to get along with those who are different, and the importance of winning humbly and losing with grace, and how working together and asking for help and saying goodbye to people (and animals) that you care about are critical life skills.
Any person who spends any amount of time around youngsters who are showing animals and strikes up a conversation will find out immediately that rabbits, chickens, pigs, sheep, dogs and steers don’t just happen (well, they kinda do but stick with me here) and there is a tremendous amount of work that goes into making sure each competitor’s animal is ready to look and perform its best.
If you are accustomed to raising animals, some of this seems a little bit trivial, but to the curious it is a marvel that kids manage to pull off such a feat. First of all, the time required to raise and show an animal of any kind is something that teaches a heavy dose of discipline and responsibility. Some spend months getting “freddy” (yes, some, if not all, have names) ready for the big show. The culminating purpose is to win and if you do, you might even make some money! What a concept! Working with discipline and responsibility in the hope of earning something. Wow! That’s worth developing in every youngster across the country!
But, sometimes all your hard work and dedication doesn’t quite end up the way you had hoped and you don’t win a ribbon or get to be a part of the parade of champions. This is what fair and life is all about. Sometimes you win and sometimes you don’t but you still keep doing the things that got you to the show and a few years down the road when you look back on what you did and maybe even remember the conversation you had with some guy who didn’t know or understand how all this fair stuff worked; you realize that the fair really is about life more than most things you learn.
Hats off and extreme admiration for all that make the next two weeks possible and make some time to visit the fair and take the time to talk to a few kids about what they are doing. It may only be fair but it’s two weeks of showcasing what is great about where we live and a celebration of the young people who profit in more ways than money from the experience.
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