The 108th Burt County Fair may have been a shadow of its normal self, but at least there was a shadow to cast.
After cancelling the entertainment, the open class exhibits and the carnival in light of the coronavirus pandemic, fair officials decided to push forward with the annual 4-H livestock and animal shows. Provisions also were made to display other 4-H projects in the 4-H building. Although participation was down, University of Nebraska Extension officials said a number of high-quality projects were entered.
Friday saw many of those projects awarded at the annual awards program and coronation
During the program, the Joe Roh, Jr. Award was presented to two recipients. One was Larry Osterndorff, a fixture for many years with the open class plant exhibits.
A Roh award also was presented to Red Barn Veterinary Clinic and Farmacy.
First awarded in 1983, the Joe Roh Jr. Distinguished Service Award is given to recipients who have dedicated a great deal of time and energy to the betterment of the fair.
The program also saw an Ak-Sar-Ben Pioneer Farm award presented to Gene Chamberlain. The Ak-Sar-Ben Foundation’s Pioneer Farm Awards recognize 100 years of continuous family ownership.
The roughly 240-acre farm northwest of Tekamah was purcahsed in 1920 by Gene’s father, Clarence, for $60,000, or $250 an acre. Clarence moved to the farm March 1, 1920. Coming with him were his invalid mother, Tillie, a younger sister, Ruth, and two younger brothers, Leo and George.
Chamberlain, 93, was born on Feb. 25, 1927, in the farmhouse where he still lives.
A short while after moving to the farm, the Chamberlains decided to build a bathing place to assist Tillie and installed a bathtub for her use. A four-legged cast iron bathtub was brought in. Used bathwater was dipped out of the tub, hauled outside and dumped in the yard, Chamberlain said. Within a short time, a drain was built to carry the bathwater outside. The drain was attached to a cesspool built in the yard.
Scott and Betsy Coates and Jami Method, all of Oakland, received Good Neighbor Awards, also presented through the Ak-Sar-Ben Foundation.
Also during Friday’s program, Gavin Enstrom and Greta Lindberg were crowned the 71st King and Queen of Burt.
Sizable crowds also attended the livestock shows held Saturday and Sunday in the livestock arena. In order to make the livestock shows work, 4-H and FFA exhibitors were not allowed to keep their animals on the fairgrounds overnight. That meant hauling livestock on the day of the show and hauling animals back home once the show was over.
The fair still saw over 100 swine exhibits and more than 75 for the beef show.
The annual 4-H horse show was postponed by a rainstorm on Monday and was rescheduled for Aug. 3.
Tuesday’s slate featured 4-H special awards at followed by the annual 4-H livestock auction in the arena. With 78 different exhibitors bringing animals to the auction ring, the auction was larger than the 2019 event which was considered the largest in a decade.
A free appreciation meal was served to 4-H livestock bidders after the auction.