County fair season underway
County fair season is in full swing across the state. Youth exhibitors have been working diligently to get their livestock ready for the fair.
For experienced showmen Conor Christensen and Rylee Helm, this time of year is what they have been working towards.
Conor, a senior at Shoshoni High School, explained, “I always think it is fun to show off what you have been doing all summer long”
Rylee, a 10-year 4-H member from the Pinedale area, has taken what she has learned in 4-H and FFA, to continue to serve the Wyoming FFA Association as a state officer.
These young individuals shared how they have prepared for their county fairs throughout the summer.
Freemont County Fair
Conor is taking three pigs and a steer to the 2021 Fremont County Fair.
Eager to get his purebred Hereford steer in the show ring, he shared, “My steer is a home-raised steer from my grandparents. I help them with their cattle and this is my payment.”
While there is history of raising cattle in the family, Christensen and his older sister Kodi have been in the pig showing business since they started 4-H.
“My sister and I love them,” said Conor. “We joke that showing pigs is the only thing we are good at.”
Conor is still chasing banners at the Fremont County Fair. Putting in hours upon hours of work into his steer and hog projects, he has found value in good feed and skin conditioners for his animals.
“We are always researching new feeds to figure out new ways we can improve our feed. We have found home remedies for skin conditioning to keep up with their skin health,” Conor explained.
With his showing career winding down, Conor has been able to use his talents to help the next generation of showmen.
He shared, “Since I have been doing this for quite a while, I like helping younger 4-H and FFA members with their projects.”
After nearly a decade of showing livestock, Conor has learned many life lessons. When asked to share his most valuable lesson, he paused to think about his experience.
“You can have leadership in one hand and management in another, and I think it is all about how you look at it,” he shared.
He continued, “I think money management, for me, has been the best lesson. You have to figure out how much money is available to spend and still have money left over for anything else.”
The Fremont County Fair is July 31-Aug. 7 in Riverton.
Sublette County Fair
Rylee will be busy with two market lambs, two market steers and a market heifer at the Sublette County Fair. She began her showing career with hogs, but made the transition to market sheep over a year ago after a friend got her hooked.
“My friend had a goal to show every species before we graduated, so she started showing market lambs and I helped,” shared Rylee. “I fell in love with it and wanted to give it a try.”
This new experience has kept her busy. Rylee spends countless hours in the barn getting her sheep ready for the fair.
“Since I got my lambs in March, I have been working to set them up and walking them around to build their muscle,” she said. “I work their leg wool by washing and brushing it to massage the hair follicles.”
Approaching her last county fair, Rylee decided it was time to pursue her dream of showing beef.
“I figured, since it is my last year, it is now or never,” she said.
Although new to the project, Rylee understands the time and dedication beef animals take. Additionally, she enjoys learning about feeding and showing a new species.
“With my cattle, I set them up when I feed them so they get use to doing it,” she shared. “I work their hair and wash them, too.”
While it is obvious Rylee is passionate about her 4-H and FFA projects, she found much more value in the youth organizations. Her two biggest take-aways from these programs are the life lessons she has learned and the people she has met.
“FFA and 4-H teach youth how to work hard for the things they want,” Rylee concluded. “You meet so many different people through both programs. The people you meet – not only the peers your age but also the industry leaders – have so much to teach because everyone’s experience is different.”
The Sublette County Fair is in Big Piney is July 28-31.
Savannah Peterson is an intern for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.