Livestock exhibitors kick it back near Ontario
When Monroe County joined the extensive list of cancelled fairs due to COVID-19 it signaled the expected deflation for countless number of youth livestock exhibitors.
The Monroe County Fair was scheduled for July 29-Aug. 2, but a decision was made weeks ago to cancel because of COVID uncertainty.
But a coordinated group of volunteers rallied together to offer an event that allowed large breed exhibitors to showcase livestock and skills inside a show ring keeping in mind social distance guidelines attached to the virus. Kick'In COVID @ the OK Corral was held July 18-19 outside Ontario. With the list of county fairs, livestock shows and state fairs cancelled in the Midwest volunteers set in motion plans to format an event that would help exhibitors reap some of the rewards for all those seeds of work planted months earlier.
The event could not provide all things to all youth who exhibit at the fair. Small animal species were not included. The event included steers, dairy, barrows and wethers. The beef, dairy and wether show was Saturday. Entries on Saturday started arriving by 7 a.m. Sunday featured the barrow show with entries arriving at 6 a.m.
Exhibitors were required to follow strict rules. Livestock entries did not have stalls for exhibitors. They had to work out of their livestock trailers. Wash racks were not available on site. Livestock had to be washed before arrival. Water was available for spot washing and to hydrate livestock and it was warm. Due to social distance requirements the event was a 'no-fit, blow and go' show. There was a scale on site, but organizers asked livestock to be weighed at home to prevent any extra interaction and long lines.
Bleacher seating was not available. The intent of the weekend was to provide exhibitors the opportunity to experience something so their effort would not go unnoticed.
Organizers knew there would be challenges, per a letter sent to families prior the event.
"Please keep in mind we are all working under different conditions this year. We appreciate your cooperation and understanding that decisions we made were made to keep you and your family safe," the letter stated.
It went on to read, "We did this (event) because we wanted to bring back some sense of normalcy to the lives of our junior livestock exhibitors. We understand exhibitors and their families have invested both time and money into their projects and one of the rewards of that investment is being able to show and participate in events. Our desire to offer you and your child an awesome event was great, but our desire to keep you and your family safe while participating was even greater."
The use of masks was encouraged when social distancing was not possible. Attendance was limited to exhibitors who were eligible to show at the fair this year.