Barrett Beutler 2019 Cuming County Fair

Judge Barb Ohlrichs of Norfolk, Neb., listens as young Barrett Beutler answers her questions.

Greetings, I know it has been awhile since my last column. Sometimes in writing or composing you run into blocks. Such is my case, as I told myself that I wouldn’t write about politics or markets, and both of those topics consume us on a daily basis.

And weather, well that is something that we have read about and seen enough. So at end of summer, here I came up with a topic that I like to discuss – and one that gets my creativity sparked.

This O.T.G. column is based on a picture snapped and sent to me from the Cuming County Fair that was in early August in West Point, Nebraska. Of course it was sent to me as it shows myself in the photo with my 7-year-old girl showing a calf in the “Pee Wee” Showmanship contest.

This contest allows the non 4-H-age youngsters to display their skills in showing a project. It gets much attention from grandparents, and has become one of the highlights in the arena. This project has grown since its inception and has impacted overall numbers of exhibitors to the plus side after years of decline in most areas.

Youth and livestock are often found at their best at county fairs. 4-H and FFA, along with their projects, are important to many kids in rural America, and the values and life lessons can lead for many toward their future. Learning to take care of livestock is more than feeding and grooming, it’s learning responsibility.

Now, there are many different approaches to 4-H and FFA. You can focus on a single project or do many. The different types of projects are nearly infinite, but all require skill, hard work and knowledge – and in most cases lots of resources for feed, equipment, housing and – let’s not forget – money.

Judges too can have great impacts on young minds, as they quiz them with questions, put them on the spot, and place their projects with ribbons and trophies. With that comes learning about competition, and competition is life.

So as summer winds dowwn and the state fairs have passed, kids go back to school. But for kids in 4-H and FFA, they never stop learning. For them, school is in session every day.

Chris Beutler is a ringman for cattle production sales and a Midwest Messenger sales executive. He can be reached at, 402-380-8244.

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