Celebrity hog show set for 2022 county fair

By Blythe Alspaugh - [email protected]

SIDNEY — A celebrity hog show was approved for Sunday afternoon of the 2022 by the Shelby County Fair Board at September’s meeting, held Wednesday.

Botkins FFA Adviser Chad Berning brought the idea to the fair board after having discussions with his students over the summer on how they could better promote agriculture and shows to the general public and people who may not know everything that goes into working on a farm. Both Berning and his students were inspired by the Dean’s Charity Steer Show held at the Ohio State Fair, which featured Dean Kress, CBS Sports’ Clark Kellogg, and former “First Lady of OSU Football,” Shelley Meyer showing steers with 4-H members they partnered with during the 2019 inagural show. In 2019, they raised $152,000 for Ronald McDonald House Charities.

For a Shelby County spin on the charity show, Berning and his students came up with the idea of showing hogs — something Berning felt would be easier, given the animals are smaller compared to steers — and inviting local leaders such as Sheriff Jim Frye, county commissioners, and even local leaders in congress to participate.

“The students would benefit from it, because they’re going to educate someone who doesn’t know anything about hogs and doesn’t know anything about the Shelby County Fair on the importance of promoting agriculture,” Berning said.

While nothing is set in stone, Berning suggested splitting the donated money from the show — a portion would go to a charity chosen by the fair board, and a portion would go to the fair board. Berning added all he needed to set up the show from the fair board was an arena for a few hours, and the PA system. Everything else would be taken care of from FFA chapters and 4-H clubs in the county.

With the charity show in its infancy of planning, Berning said the starting point with planning would begin in January 2022, which is when he would start reaching out to get seven to 10 volunteers. Berning encouraged fair board members to suggest people in their own communities who are well-known, but don’t have a background or familiarity with agriculture.

“I think money toward charity is a great idea,” President Eric Garber said.

Garber and Shelby County Maintenance Supervisor Chris Roediger gave an update on inflow and infiltration (I&I) and down spouts. According to Garber, at a meeting with county commissioners three weeks ago, they talked about I&I and down spouts and if the fair board would help pick up down spouts connected into the storm water system. Roediger said currently, there are four to five buildings with down spouts, and there is no projected price on more down spouts yet — a pre-bid meeting was set for Sept. 16.

“I think the thought process is, you take away the potential water that goes into your campers, underneath and down from the restrooms, the arenas,” Roediger said.

According to Roediger, the entire project has not been bid out yet. Phase I of the project, which involved digging a 16-foot trench from Campbell Road to the gate, is complete. Phase II and phase III are set for pre-bid on Sept. 16, and phase IV, which encapsulates the south side of the fairgrounds, does not have a set pre-bid date.

In other business, the fair board approved donating $600 to the Sidney Department of Fire and Emergency Services for their help with the pari mutuel horse races at the 2021 fair, as well as donating $2,000 to the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office as a thank-you for their help during the 2021 fair.

The board also set the dates for the 2022 Shelby County Fair, which will be held July 24 through July 30.

Dan Geise informed board members that the current cattle scale is in poor shape and would need to be replaced. A new set of bars and a read-out for the cattle scale will cost the board anywhere from $1,000 to $2,5000.

By Blythe Alspaugh

[email protected]