4-H event kicks off county fair
Hundreds of people gathered in Glenns Ferry to mark the 100th anniversary of the nation's 4-H program as the Elmore County Fair officially began Sunday evening.
People from across the county continued to enjoy plenty of "fun in the sun" this week with the county fair and rodeo moved into full gear today as the carnival midway and exhibit hall opened to the public.
Sunday's celebration included youth and adult representatives from each of the local 4-H and Optimist agricultural organizations. As the anniversary celebration began, dozens of these representatives rode into the main arena on horseback.
Among these youth riders was Maedena Spickelmier, who carried in the American flag in preparation for the singing of the National Anthem. This year marked her second year in the 4-H horse program and the third year that she would participate in the sheep program.
In preparation for a horse and rider costume competition later in the evening, several of the entrants entered the arena fully decked out in handmade costumes. Among them was Cheyenne Johns with the Dirty Boots 4-H group out of Glenns Ferry, who came dressed as a fairy princess while her horse bore a unicorn horn.
After the horses finished their procession into the arena, members of the 4-H's new remote-control vehicle club rolled their off-road vehicles past the grandstands as 4-H and Optimist members displayed their club banners to the public. The evening's events culminated with a 4-H horse show that featured 11 horse classes, including trail riding and free-style reining.
The fair is all based around kids -- to educate them on challenges and responsibilities of farm life, said county fair manager Rena Kerfoot. The family concept brings together parents, relatives and siblings as they watch these youngsters compete in hopes of coming home with a blue ribbon.
Kerfoot emphasized that this year's fair will "be a lot bigger this year" with greater youth involvement in 4-H and Optimist programs
Members of the 4-H youth group have worked extra hard to bring a great fair to the residents of Elmore County, said Elmore County 4-H Assistant Mary Ann Peterson and Horse Chairman Mike Spickelmier. A variety of animals shown this year will include a crowd favorite -- alpacas.
The 4-H anniversary held special significance for members of the Idaho National Guard as they prepare for their next deployment to Afghanistan in coming months. Among the soldiers preparing for duty overseas include a dozen agricultural specialists that will help farmers in the war-torn country.
Most of the farmers in Afghanistan would normally learn these skills from their father or grandfather. However, most of these individuals were killed during fighting in this nation that has ravaged the country for three generations, according to Col. Robert Lytle, chief of staff with the Idaho Army National Guard.
These soldiers volunteered for this duty when the opportunity presented itself, the colonel said. These Guardsmen will share agricultural skills they learned when were involved in 4-H programs with these Afghan farmers.
Jean Mullen, director of the Glenns Ferry Chamber, will serve as this year's grand marshal for the fair and rodeo.
The community's citizen of the year in 2007, Mullen earned the grand marshal selection in honor of her continuing support with a variety of clubs and organizations in the Glenns Ferry community. She joined the fair board six years ago and has supervised the fair's hobby crafts division for many of those years.
Mullen will open the Idaho Cowboy Association rodeo Friday and Saturday evenings.
The fair opens to the general public when the exhibit building opens at noon today, July 18. The carnival midway will open at 5 p.m. from today to Friday and at noon Saturday.
Helicopter rides around Glenns Ferry return to the fairgrounds this year. Meanwhile, the farm bureau will present "Maggie the Cow" -- an interactive dairy presentation that allows youngsters to milk a calf.
New attractions this year include Cook's Racing Pigs, which will race around a set track three times a day on Thursday and Friday.
The junior rodeo begins at 6 p.m. Thursday, July 19, with the Idaho Cowboys Association rodeo beginning at 8 p.m. Friday.
Evening entertainment will begin at 8 p.m. Thursday, July 19, with a concert by Kelly Mack with a second performance planned at 6 p.m. Friday. The Jeff Palmer Band takes the stage for a separate concert at 9 p.m. Friday. The county fair culminates with the Moonshine and Mayhem concert, which runs from 8 p.m. to midnight Saturday.
Daily admission to the fair is $3 for individuals ages 7 and older and free for children up to age 6. Admission to the ICA rodeo and the all-youth junior rodeo is $9 for adults, $3 for youth and $6 for seniors. Individuals up to age 5 are admitted free.
Premium books for this year's fair are available at a number of businesses in the area, including Hometown Hardware and Corner Market in Glenns Ferry and at D&B Supply and Paul's Market in Mountain Home.
For more information on this year's activities, pick up a premium book or call Kerfoot at 587-2136, ext.287.