Lots to do at Clarion County Fair, but it’s mainly about the animals
BY LEISEL KOBER
Forget the Clarion County Fair food and fun, for many local youngsters the most exciting part is coming back every year to show animals.
“She’s my best friend,” Austin Kirkpatrick, 12, of Rimersburg, said as she looked at her horse, Jewels.
Kirkpatrick has raised horses since she was 6 years old and this is her fifth time showing the horse at the fair. She enjoys taking Jewels to rodeos and trail riding as well.
“I like these animals; they’re friendly and small,” Bailey Snyder, 8, said about her goats, Wesley and Cocoa.
Snyder is experiencing her first time showing her animals.
“I’m nervous,” Snyder said quietly on Monday.
Synder is showing her goats today at the 4-H goat judging.
This year Kirkpatrick already has won second place in barrels, first place in pole bending and third in showmanship.
“You do a whole bunch of gaming, like bobbing for apples,” Kirkpatrick said referring to Thursday’s open horse show (game). “Then we go diving straight into the mud puddles in the horse ring.”
“It’s a good experience and you get money after selling them,” Callie Songer, 16, of New Bethlehem, said. “It’s just a tradition.”
Songer raised her two pigs to show. She sold one Sunday and plans to sell the other at the auction.
“You get really attached to them and it’s rough,” Songer said. “You just kind of have to know what is gonna come when you’re raising them for 4-H.”
Songer has been participating in the fair since she was 8 years old.
Another young goat raiser is Maddie Kephart, 15, of Kittanning, who is part of Martin Hill Livestock.
“It’s fun because I like to work with animals,” Kephart said.
Kephart said the goats have taught her responsibility and have helped her build character during the last nine years. She now cares for about 20 goats all together.
It’s not just the kids who love their animals, many enjoy coming to the fair and sharing their animal expertise with a new generation.
“There’s a lot of people who have never seen a milking short horn (cow) so why not bring her to let the people see,” Judy Radaker of Minnick Farms, said. “I just like the fact of bringing them for the kids to see.”
Radaker brought her cows, for the first time, to this year’s fair with encouragement from her boyfriend Kyle Minnick, owner of Minnick Farms.
As Radaker stands in the stall she points to each of her seven cows spread throughout the barn. She then smiled and pointed to the cow that won supreme champion of the Clarion County Fair.
“When I go up to meet them, they immediately come up to me … – they’re my babies,” Radaker said.
Art Goodman has been coming to the fair for seven years and shows his six rabbits with his nephew, Lucas Short, 4.
“It’s like an addiction,” Goodman said. “You see one and go to buy one, then you come home with four.”
The rides and the milkshakes are Lucas’s favorites for now, but his uncle hopes that his nephew will grow up to continue the tradition he has started with him.
“The kids really enjoy it,” Goodman said.
In addition to having many animals to look at and learn from, the fair offers an overall experience to the community.
“It’s like a class reunion without even having a class reunion,” Cassie Faulk of New Bethlehem said.
“It still feels like a hometown. You get to see a lot of people you don’t see,” Sherry McCauley of New Bethlehem said. “It brings people together.”
The fair continues all week until Saturday. Multiple tractor pulls, two demolition derbies and more animal events will be held daily.
Republished with permission from The Derrick.
First Published Tuesday, July 28, 2015