SIDNEY — The arenas at Monday’s Shelby County Junior Fair were fairly empty as youngsters trotted their goats and dogs around the ring vying for the top prize. Because only the families or people directly associated with Junior Fair are allowed onto the fairgrounds, onlookers in the stands were sparse.
Junior Fair members competed in Arena 1 in the dairy/pygmy, boer/boer crossbred and market goat shows. The Beige Building housed the dog show Monday.
Elizabeth Pollock, 10, member of the Scissors to Sheep 4-H club, and daughter of Aaron and Ronna Pollock, of Houston, showed for the second time ever this year.
“It’s a lot different (at the fair this year),” Elizabeth said during the show. “It’s still the same (to show), just a little bit different (without the rest of the fair).”
She said it felt good to show her dairy goat and was excited but a little nervous, too. Due to COVID-19 and the statewide face covering mandate issued by Gov. Mike DeWine, the goat shows’ judge wore masks. Elizabeth said she tried not to laugh at Judge Jim Wilson when she was showing her goat because he was wearing a mask with a goat face on it.
At the time she spoke to the Sidney Daily News, she had already won four ribbons with her goat for Dam and Daughter, 3-year-old to under 5 Milker, Yearling, and the Intermediate Doe Kid categories.
Her brother Anthony Pollock, 13, of Houston, also a member of Scissors to Sheep 4-H club and son of Aaron and Ronna Pollock, took home grand champion and also a first place ribbon with his dairy goats, at that point in the day.
“I was confident (to show). I wasn’t nervous,” Anthony said of showing for the fifth year. “I was a little bit sad (t0 hear the other part of the fair was cancelled).”
Seventh generation goat breeder Meredith Hageman, 15, of Fairlawn, member of the Fairlawn FFA and daughter of Gretchen and Jason Hageman, took home several awards Monday, including grand champion and reserve champion in the Wether category with her pygmy goats. Among the several other awards won, she also took reserve champion in the Dam and Daughter category.
Standing with her mother, they agreed it is “almost like a routine” to show, which they prepare for all year long.
Meredith said she was excited and happy to win but was missing her friends at this year’s fair. After Junior Fair members finish showing for the day, they must immediately pack up and take their animals out of the fairgrounds, as a way to limit people there due to concerns surrounding the pandemic.
After lunch time, over at the Beige Building, the dog show got underway, again with few spectators present.
Blaine Simpson, 15, member of Paw Prints 4-H club and son of Lori Simpson, of Sidney, and his 6-month-old Scottish terrier, Emmie, were getting comfortable working together in front of a crowd. Monday was Emmie’s first time showing. Blaine’s mom said she thought they did really well. They also said Monday would be the last show later for Blaine and his 10-year-old cockapoo, Mickey, who is retiring from showing after this year.
“It’s exciting and fun because you want to do good,” Blaine said. “I’m not nervous. I’ve been doing it for a while. (Emmie) likes it. I’ve been working with her since she was about 8 week old.”
Lillie Howell, 14, of Anna, member of Paw Prints 4-H club and daughter of Joel and Julie Howell, has showed her golden doodle, Tobey, at the fair for the last three years. Lillie said they began practicing regularly in February or March.
“Kind of in between,” she said when asked if she gets excited or nervous when showing. “Yeah, it’s kind of a rush. Tobey is a very smart dog. He definitely loves it. This was the first year of doing off-lead (leash) stuff.”
The Shelby County Junior Fair continues through Thursday, July 30.