4-H, FFA members unite to fix up Weld County Fair show ring | MyWindsorNow.com

4-H, FFA members unite to fix up Weld County Fair show ring

Trevor Reid
treid@greeleytribune.com

When 4-H and FFA members and their families began loading into the Swine Barn at the Weld County Fair Friday, a group of parents noticed the show ring was still a bit too slick.

"If the pigs can't get good, solid footing, and it's slippery," said parent Don Thorn, "they can slip and fall and get really hurt."

The Swine Barn was placed in the Exhibition Building at Island Grove Regional Park, 501 N. 14th Ave. Without the proper set up on the show ring, the building's concrete floor makes slipping far too easy for livestock. The young exhibitors prepared for the fair all summer. Risking injury to the pigs on their big day just wouldn't be right, Thorn explained.

"That's the biggest thing, that every kid that shows here gets a fair shake and their animal is safe and taken care of," he said.

The type of people who tackle problems head-on, a group of about 50 kids and their parents raised $600 and got to work preparing the show ring Friday evening. They bought more wood pellets and finished setting up the show ring in just 45 minutes, a job that would normally take a couple hours, Thorn said. Thorn said he and others fully support the fair and don't cast any blame for the show ring's condition Friday.

Fair Coordinator Janet Konkel said it's difficult to get a show ring set up properly on floors not meant for livestock shows.

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"It was generous of them, at the last minute, 'Oh yeah, we'll go take care of that.' That's 4-Hers for you," Konkel said. "The show room was beautiful this morning."

Swine exhibitors not fans of Weld County Fair fan policy

Many parents at the Weld County Fair’s Market and Breeding Swine Show expressed concerns with a safety policy at the fair: No individual fans in the Swine Barn.

Parent Troy Gray of Greeley said most exhibitors use their own fans to keep their swine cool. With no sweat glands, except for in their snouts, swine overheat easily. On a hotter day, Gray and other parents said, pigs would have started perishing. Exhibitors kept busy Saturday using rags in ice water and spray bottles to keep the swine cool.

Parents said they heard different reasons from officials as to why the policy was in place. Fair Coordinator Janet Konkel said it’s been policy as long as she’s been there. She said she knows firsthand why such a policy is important, when something happened to one of her kids’ pigs years ago.

“Pigs will chew on anything, and we had one that bit on an electric cord and it blew two teeth out of her mouth,” she said. “It’s a safety issue.”