There is something so magical about a fair. People walk in with a certain energy, eager to get to their favorite attraction. You can tell that a lot of folks put time into choosing their outfits From crisply ironed western shirts to motorcycle boots and fringed leather vests... I could have spent the entire time just watching the outfits!
But I was there to see the animals. So I made my way to the big barns and came upon the sheep and goats, and the 4-H kids. Maybe it's the former-teacher in me, but I love seeing the kids' displays and the way they interact with their animals and each other.
|An especially decorative 4-H group display.|
I had the most charming chat with the little girl who owned this goat. A goat full of mishaps, including a notched ear due to a dehorning accident and green ears because somehow the ink used to tattoo a number in the ear exploded everywhere.
My next stop was the judging ring. I found myself cheering on each child. All of the judging was interesting, but the judge of the heifer competition discussed every animal with the audience so we understood why he chose the winners. I learned a lot about heifers!
|This little boy was brushing some dirt off of his pig's backside|
just before the judge entered the ring.
|Judging the heifers.|
Then it was on to the arena where I was fortunate to catch one of the team sorting competitions. Wow. If you've never seen a cutting horse at work, make sure you do so. The horses and riders look like they're dancing. And the team sorting has you on the edge of your seat as the riders work together to cut certain cows out of the herd and make sure the wrong ones don't leave the pen.
I loved watching the teams of women. Cowgirls rock!
But this gentleman was so comfortable in the saddle, I really enjoyed seeing him too.
It's hard to choose between all the photos I took, but this next one is probably my favorite. The tenderness of the daddy's posture toward his son, the way he seems to be listening to his little boy so intently even though he just finished competing, melted me. Will that man become a hero in one of my novels? Absolutely.
As writers, or even as readers, we can end up spending a lot of time indoors, with our computers or kindles. My trip to the Mid-State Fair was a reminder to get out in the world and experience things close up. I had a fun adventure and came away inspired to write many more stories!