CIRCLE, Mont. – County fairs and 4-H kids and their projects go together like summer and sunshine.
Even though the 4-H’ers’ Moms and Dads are pulling out the harvesting machines and getting ready for harvest, they are always ready to help their kids with their 4-H projects.
It is that way for Kurt and Rhonda Voss, spring wheat and pulse growers near Circle, Mont., who both run the combines during harvest, but also help their kids, Luke, Briel and Brent, with their 4-H live animal outdoor and indoor exhibits.
“Everyone in the county, all the farmers/ranchers and rural folks support the county fair,” said Rhonda.
The McCone County Fair in Circle will run from Wednesday, Aug. 14 through Saturday, Aug. 17.
Rhonda said her three 4-H kids put a lot of work into their projects for the county fair.
“My kids work so hard on their projects, and after they work with their steer and/or pig outdoors, and make their indoor projects, they have workbooks to complete on their projects,” Rhonda said. “Every day, Luke and Briel, who are both showing pigs, write how much they feed their pig, how much water they drink and more – it all has to be calibrated out, and every project has an accompanying workbook.”
Luke is their oldest son and is has been in 4-H for three years.
“This year, I am taking a steer for the first time, and I named him Wilbur. I have been halter-breaking Wilbur myself, and he’s doing pretty good,” Luke said. “I am also bringing my pig, named Spot, but I have been bringing a pig every year, so I know how to train it.”
Wilbur is a spring calf from last year. His Grandpa Lawrence Voss, who farms across the highway from Kurt and Rhonda, invited Luke over to the farm/ranch, and let Luke choose the steer he wanted.
Luke also plans to do a 4-H fishing poster board for his indoor project, plus a woodworking project.
“I enjoy drawing fish, so I am drawing eight fish and identifying them for my indoor fishing project,” Luke said.
Kurt always helps his kids with their 4-H woodworking projects, after they come up with an idea.
“My idea is to make a corn hole game for woodworking. You throw little sacks and try to get them into the holes in the wooden board,” Luke said.
He is also doing nail art and making a woodworking project of a barn made out of wood with pigs in it.
Briel, in her first year of 4-H, will show a pig for the first time. Cloverbuds, which Briel was last year, aren’t allowed to show a market pig, although a pig can be shown in open class.
“I’m excited about showing my pig, Domino, at the fair. It has been fun training Domino,” Briel said. She worked with Luke last year, so she had a good idea how to train her pig.
Briel will also be doing a scrapbooking project, and she will also plans to create a treasure box.
“My treasure box is going to be a box with pictures that I took myself of softball and baseball games glued on top of the box,” Briel said. “I am also designing and making a pig puzzle made out of card stock. On the puzzle, I show and explain the meat cuts of the pig.”
Brent is a Cloverbud this year, and will be doing arts and crafts projects. He will be creating a woodworking project with his Dad of a rocket imprinted on wood, and some other projects, including one on dogs.
“I am going to make a woodworking project of a rocket and an arts and crafts project with markers,” Brent said.
Brent has been working with his pig, named Curious Pig, which he may show in open class.
The county fair has a rodeo and some booths, with the best exhibitor being McCone Electric Co.
“McCone Electric has the only game for kids, where they win prizes like little squirt guns by darting balloons. The company also brings their bucket truck, hooks up the safety harvest on anyone who wants to ride, and they can go for a ride in the bucket truck. Kids also receive a free T-shirt and patch from McCone Electric,” Rhonda said.
The Homemakers Club sponsors a Scholarship Bingo Fundraiser for all ages, from young to old.
At the fair on Wednesday morning, there will be interview judging of all 4-H indoor exhibits.
On Thursday, there is market animal weigh-in, while indoor judging goes on.
In addition, the 4-H live animal exhibits begin, with 4-H’ers showing animals, such as rabbit, poultry, horses, cats, and dogs. There is also a small animal round robin showmanship in the afternoon and the rodeo at 7:30 p.m.
“We always go to the rodeo, and my favorite competition to watch is bull-riding,” Briel said.
Just before the rodeo, the 4-H high school students help the little kids with a stick horse and kids’ rodeo, for their special project.
“A lot of little kids show up for the stick horse rodeo. Last year, there were at least 40 kids,” Rhonda said.
On Friday, 4-H kids will be showing beef, swine, sheep, goats, both market and dairy. That is the day when Luke will show Wilbur, and both Luke and Briel will show their pigs.
At 5 p.m. on Friday, there is the popular “Champion of Champions Showmanship,” followed by another rodeo at 7:30 p.m.
On the last day of the fair, Saturday, the fair will have the Livestock Sale of 4-H market animals. In the afternoon, there will be a Calcutta, followed by a ranch rodeo.
“We also have a pie auction. Everyone who has kids in 4-H has to bake two pies for the auction,” Rhonda said.
The McCone County Fair usually means it is nearly time for harvest to start, and everyone in the county concentrates on cutting and storing crops.
The fair is truly the main event of the summer.
“Last year, all the kids won ribbons at the fair. We all enjoy the fair, and then everyone gets busy with harvesting after that,” Rhonda said.