17 Aug 2012 - It’s Fair Time Again

It’s that enjoyable and exciting time of the year for me and for many of you, it’s County and State Fair time across the nation. This week I want to focus on one activity that takes place in nearly every County and State Fair, the auction of the Grand Champion livestock exhibited by members of 4-H clubs and FFA chapters. It is the Super Bowl for these young people, the end of a year of hard work with that animal, feeding, fitting, grooming and showing in hopes of getting that Grand Champion ribbon; and then leading that Champion into the auction ring and realizing some pretty good dollars.

While most of the money goes to the exhibitor, in just about every instance, a portion of it is set aside for the 4-H and FFA Foundations to benefit all of the 4-H and FFA members in the county or state.

My message is primarily to you, the young exhibitors; and at my age, I can call you ‘kids’. It is really important that you say ‘Thank You’ to the companies and businesses who come out to support your auction. They really do want to show their support for the positive work put forth by these 4-H and FFA members. ‘Thank You’ goes a long way in bringing those companies and businesses back to the Fair again next year, so say those two very important words verbally, by e-mail or letter, and if possible, by shopping at their business.

When I interview exhibitors after the auction, I always ask them what they will do with the money. Most of the time, the response ranges from “ to buy another animal for next year” or more often “to go into my college fund”. But at the Illinois State Fair this year I encountered a young lady who said she’d “take the money to buy a Gibson guitar and if there was any money left, then to buy a Farmall B Tractor”. I looked at her father in the audience and I could tell where that suggestion came from.

Finally, at the Illinois State Fair, bidders for the Grand Champion Steer took the price to $52,000.00, an all-time record price at the Fair. I mentioned that on my radio show and a listener from Chicago sent me an angry e-mail saying “That’s crazy! Why would they spend $52,000.00 for a steer? That money could be put to much better use somewhere else, helping a lot of people in need!” I responded, “Well, I suppose it could, but you know what, I think it is a lot better spent this way to help and encourage young people than spending $40,000.00 to have your picture taken with a Presidential candidate.” Oh, and remember to say Thank You!

My thoughts on Samuelson Sez.