Posted: Jul 17, 2013 12:01 PM by Chet Layman
Updated: Jul 17, 2013 12:01 PM
BOZEMAN - When you say Gallatin County Fair, most people think of things like carnival rides and cotton candy. However, the beginnings of the county fair are based in the Gallatin Valley's rich agricultural traditions.
The Gallatin County Fair, in its 110th year, uses the 4-H program to help young people maintain those traditions.
Fun, food, and entertainment may bring most people to the fair every year, but today's county fair, at its roots, is not all that different than it was for the first fair 110 years ago.
Sue Shockley, Gallatin County Fair manager, said most people come for the entertainment but stay because of the animals.
"Once they get to the fair, they want to see the animals and that's our opportunity to grab them and say, ‘Hey, this is what agriculture is all about in our community and our country.' So yeah, we're about the same, a little bit different," Shockley said.
In 2013, the animals come courtesy of a lot of hard work by mostly young people through 4-H programs.
"They've helped me with public speaking, kind of like this, and then helped me with kind of making friends and being able to work with animals. I've grown to love animals, period. It's just a lot of fun," 4-H member Corbin Surber said.
For others, like Logan Reddick, 4-H teaches responsibility.
"It's taught responsibility and how to take care of animals and just the good things in life, I guess," Logan said.
A 4-H animal takes time to raise, care for and prepare to show. While their friends are lining up for rides, these young people are putting in long hours.
Reddick says he's at the fairgrounds from 6 in the morning, until sometimes 11 or 12 at night.
Surber said his animals come first, before riding carnival rides. He says he only gets to enjoy the rest of the fair in between caring for his animals and showing them for the judges.