Rock County Fair

This last week I stepped in manure, had manure slung at me and all my clothes still smell like manure.

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I’ve been to (and covered) plenty of fairs…but never a 4-H fair. Considering Janesville is a heavily agricultural community, the Rock County 4-H Fair is a huge deal. Granted, I didn’t really know that on my first day there. For those who don’t know exactly what 4-H is, read about it here.

While I had to hunt for feature photos everyday at the fair, I was also looking to tell the story of these kids who spend the whole year primping, brushing, feeding, nurturing and training their animals. These kids, to me, live a pretty unique life considering such a small percentage of Americans are still full-time farmers. While the shows themselves seemed to be the farmer’s version of a dog show at first, I realized later how much is at stake for these kids. Many of the animals are sold for thousands and thousands of dollars and the money is often used to send these kids to college.

I’m assuming fairs like this one will likely dwindle over the next 50 years as agricultural lifestyles continue their decline. Experiencing a little slice of Americana though was pretty entertaining and a nice break from just doing regular newspaper assignments.

This is probably my favorite photo from the whole set…

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