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Day break to midnight: South Charleston teens at the fair
In a rare moment of free time, a group of youth exhibitors from South Charleston pose for a picture outside a show arena at the Clark County Fair: (from left) Spencer Wright, Katie Kimley, Madison Haggy, Jillian Edwards and Andrew Armstrong. Brittany Wiccal is not pictured.
What is a typical day like for a youth exhibitor at the Clark County Fair? A few days into this year’s fair, which took place July 20-27, the Messenger sat down with a handful of South Charleston teens to find out.
When and how does your day start?
“I get up at 5 a.m. to rinse my steers, prep their feed, prep their water, and let them dry while they eat. It’s pretty much rinse-feed-water-repeat,” said Andrew Armstrong, 18, a 2012 Southeastern High School graduate, Junior Fair Board president, Southeastern FFA member and Ace of Clubs 4-H Club member.
How do you prepare for afternoon shows?
“You wash the pen, make sure the animal looks clean, and water them so if they are small they gain weight. Then, you go out and show and come back with ribbons,” said Katie Kimley, 17, a Southeastern senior and FFA member who shows pigs.
When does your day end?
“During the day, the building is always full with parents, random people, and everyone you know. There’s no elbow room. So, I wash and feed my animals and clean out the pen at midnight when nobody is around. Then, I chillax with them; that’s their relaxing time,” said Madison Haggy, 15, a Southeastern sophomore and FFA member who shows pigs.
What do you do between shows and taking care of your animals?
“We stay out at the fair with our friends and boyfriends. We hang out in Cattle Barn 4 or the pig barn and sit and talk and blare country music,” said Jillian Edwards, 15, a Southeastern junior, FFA member, Junior Fair Board member and Crafty Critters 4-H Club member who shows goats, sheep, ducks and chickens.
What do you like best about fair week?
“I like to wash my animals and walk them down to the arena. I make room in the pen and bond with them a little bit. If they’re comfortable with you, they’ll be comfortable anywhere. They won’t squeal or get out of control during a show,” said Spencer Wright, 18, a 2012 Southeastern graduate and FFA member who shows pigs.
What do you like least about fair week?
“Sale day. I bawl and I have to comfort everyone else—my little sisters and my friends,” said Brittany Wical, 17, a senior at Southeastern and a member of the Blazin’ Bacon 4-H Club. She shows pigs. “I get my pigs in March. When they’re little, they nibble on you like puppies. It’s hard to let them go.”
When fair is over, what is the first thing you think about?
Armstrong: “My goals for the next year and the people I need to thank for making the past year possible.”
Kimley: “Breeding pigs and making thank-you signs for next year.”
Haggy: “What to do better next year with my showmanship and expressing how much it means to me for the buyers.”
Edwards: “How many days it’s going to take to clean out the barns at home.”
Wright: “Preparing our sows to breed again. We show some at the fair and others we sell. We do it all year-round.”
Wical: “How much I enjoyed everything, even the stressfulness of weigh-ins, and what it’s like to get a prize. I love to see my sisters’ and others’ in our 4-H club eyes light up when they get trophies. Two days go by and I’m ready to go again.”
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