They called it the UNFAIR…….. “2020 has been a pile of [picture a cowpie] and we think it is just UNFAIR... but we’re making the most of it.” says a video on the county fair website. “Join us on Aug 5-8 for Weber County’s First UNFAIR.” Though advertised as an UN-FAIR, in my opinion it was a SUPER FAIR. Let me tell you why…
COVID has caused chaos county wide. Country wide, actually. And,thanks to that little bugger, the county fair was essentially canceled: no commercial exhibit hall, no cotton candy, no chickens. Nothing really except an outdoor rodeo, a truck bed concert, Indian relay races, and the Junior Livestock Show. The entertainment events largely took care of themselves; the Junior Livestock Show required a major commitment of time, energy, and resources.
The County Commissioners and the Junior Livestock Superintendents did a truly SUPER job of stepping up for our kids. First they ventured out on a limb. Recognizing the tremendous value of raising, showing and selling livestock in the lives of our youth, they committed to make it happen; it would have been much easier (and probably politically safer) to let the fair go this year.
Second, to make the show COVID unfriendly (i.e. safe), they went to extensive extra-mile efforts. Tagging and weigh-in were by appointment. Masks were required in the show ring. And the show ring was moved from the small, social-distancing-would-be-impossible barn near the animal barns to the Golden Spike Arena (that is NOT next to the animal barns). Moving the show ring 100 meters is not a big deal for sheep, goats, and steers; they can be led. Moving it for hog raisers is a big deal; have you ever tried to lead a hog? One hundred meters of parallel chutes were erected; one chute leading to the show ring and one leading back from it. Those in charge of the Junior Livestock event, all of them volunteers, went to Herculean efforts.
Indeed the whole livestock community rallied around our kids. I feared that attendance at the auction would be minimal, given social distancing guidelines and the uncertainty of the economy. My fears were groundless; attendance was awesome and prices were at or above where they have always been. (i.e. VERY generous).
On a personal note, Miles had a good fair. Both of us loved Wanda, his pig this year. She was a beautiful animal. Her shoulders were super wide, she was long, and she had a very muscular butt. She was also sweet, gentle, and playful; oh how she loved rolling in her mud puddle and eating hand-fed marshmallows.. It was much harder than it should have been for us, a seasoned 55 year old farm “girl” and a macho 16 year old boy, to say goodbye. Wanda was truly, as Charlotte the spider might say, “SOME PIG”.
We did not have a buyer lined up so we entered the auction with very low expectations. Miles said “Anything over $2/lb will be great with me.” When he entered the auction ring, the auctioneer started the bidding at $4/lb. No one bid. He dropped it to $3.50/lb and then $3/lb. Finally, at $3/lb, someone bid. This is exactly what has happened to us in the past. The auctioneer starts it at what has been the starting bid for the previous animals, has to drop it significantly because no one bids, finally someone gives a pity bid, no one bids against the first bidder, and the animal sells for much less than most of the animals that are sold before and after. So, someone bid $3/lb and….then someone bid $3.25….and then $3.50….and on and on and on until $4.75/lb. Astounding. Totally astounding. Never in the history of Hislop animals at the Weber County Fair (except for the time Lance bid against himself on Grace’s sheep) has bidding continued for more than 3 bids. Happy day!!!! Happy day!! Thank you so much to (Tyler) Scoffield Construction of Plain City, UT. (1730 N 5100 W, 844404).
And thank you to the wonderful people who make the Weber County Fair such a positive experience. Most of them I don’t know by name; just by smile. I will mention those few whose names I do know….Thanks to Laurel Sellman for her constant willingness to help, to Steve Bell for being a friendly face and helping hand, to Jamie Doak for her great example of friendliness and community spirit, to Coltan Ingram and Ray Smalley for numerous summer visits and generous physical and emotional support, to Joe Giordano for his relentless energy in building the livestock program, and super special SHOUT OUT to Brian and Terry Douglas for endless hours, quiet service, and immense wisdom generously shared.
Unfair means “not based on or behaving according to the principles of equality and justice”. In one sense, the 2020 Weber County Fair was very unfair but it was not unfair according to the common interpretation of the word. Normally one thinks of “unfair” as meaning getting less than is deserved. In this case, our kids got more than they deserved. In this time of uncertainty, chaos, and cancellations a group of great people stepped up and made it happen..and that is more than fair….One could say SUPER fair!