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Exhibitors enjoy return to more normal State Fair experience

Exhibitors enjoy return to more normal State Fair experience

SEDALIA, Mo. — It was hot for the first day of the 119th Missouri State Fair, Aug. 12, before rains came through and set the stage for more mild temperatures for the rest of the fair.

But hot, humid weather this month is as familiar as the fair itself — both a part of the Missouri way of life in August for as long as anyone can remember.

The 2021 State Fair in Sedalia felt like a celebration of the familiar, as the 10-day event returned to its full, grand spectacle this year after a very scaled-back version last year focusing mostly on the livestock shows. But on opening day the Midway and food vendors were running at full steam, along with the familiar buildings full of exhibits and activities and entertainment. Inside the towering Coliseum, several young vendors prepared to show their Angus bulls.

Tanner Walker, of Higbee, had his bull Max ready to go inside the warm arena, enjoying the return of the fair.

“It’s good to be back,” he says.

Tanner Walker

Tanner Walker, of Higbee, and his bull, Max, get ready for their show at the Missouri State Fair. While last year’s fair was pared back to just youth livestock shows, this year brough back concerts, rides and food vendors.

Walker was ready for his busy showing schedule during the fair. He’s been active in FFA, and likes to see what the state’s cattle industry has to offer, saying that is what he enjoys most about the fair.

“Seeing other animals,” Walker says, “competing against them.”

Also making final preparations before the show was Mackenzee Epperson, of Trenton. She was showing her bull, Pablo, and says her State Fair experience was off to a good start, even with the heat.

“It’s good,” she says. “It’s pretty hot.”

Mackenzee Epperson with bull Pablo

Mackenzee Epperson, of Trenton, gets ready to show her bull, Pablo, at the Missouri State Fair.

A member of the Trenton FFA preparing to start her junior year, Epperson says coming to the fair is a tradition for her.

“I’ve been coming to the fair since I was 5,” she says. “But I just started showing a few years ago.”

Epperson says she wanted to get into showing cattle because it was part of her family’s heritage.

“My dad showed,” she says.

With that, it was time to start the show, and Walker, Epperson and other exhibitors led their bulls into the show ring. The Missouri State Fair was underway.

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Ben Herrold is Missouri field editor, writing for Missouri Farmer Today, Iowa Farmer Today and Illinois Farmer Today.

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