Will Ravenstein

Wellington Daily News

CALDWELL — The Sumner County Fair celebrated ’90 Years on the Trail’ over the weekend as the annual summer event showcased the talents of area residents.

The four day celebration kicked off Thursday, Aug. 3, as area 4-H and FFA members offloaded their animal projects into the holding areas while volunteers placed all the display items out for judging to take place on Friday.

Friday morning kicked off with the Sumner County Fair and 4-H swine show.

The milder temperatures Friday morning allowed the first event to move swiftly as the area youth drove their pigs around the show ring for the judge. They were first judged on how well they showed their animal to the judge as we walked around the ring to different locations.

As he moved, the 4-H and FFA members were judged on eye contact and how well they displayed their pig as the judge looked at all sides of the animal.

After the three showmanship levels (Senior, Intermediate, Junior) were complete the judge had the task of crowning the Grand and Reserve Champion Showman as he had the top two from each division re-enter the ring.

Grace Theurer, South Haven Happy Hustlers, was crowned Grand Champion for both Sumner County Fair and 4-H with Joe Cooke, South Haven FFA, taking the Sumner County Fair Reserve Champion and Lucas Kuchar, South Haven Happy Hustlers, earning 4-H Reserve Champion.

Next the swine were judged in two different divisions — Breeding Gilt and Market based on weight.

Again the contestants paraded around the ring, driving their swine for the judge to get the best view of their animal.

Kuchar was named Grand Champion with Cole Theurer bringing home Reserve Champion in Breeding Gilt.

Cole Theurer took the Grand Champion rosette in the market class with older sister Grace Theurer finishing as Reserve Champion.

After the swine show, there was a five hour break in the action in the show ring, allowing residents and guests the opportunity to explore the fair grounds and look at the static displays setup in two buildings.

The 4-H Building, which also home to the Fair Office, hosted the photography show, club displays, items from the 4-H Fashion Revue that took place at the Raymond Frye in July, and flower displays along with rockets and woodworkings.

The Caldwell Community Building was home to the Fair Art Show, quilt show, horticulture show and the fundraiser for the year — ‘Stomp out ALS.’

‘Stomp out ALS’ coordinator, Wanda Whaley of Caldwell, had a personal connection with the event this year.

“Clint was diagnosed with ALS in October of 2015,” Whaley said of her husband. “He was a big, strong working cowboy that you would never have thought that would happen to. And it did. He went downhill pretty fast. Within three months he couldn’t walk. Five months he couldn’t eat by himself. It just went steadily downhill and he passed February 23 of this year.”

Area participants created boot themed container or displays that visitors voted on in a people’s choice category before the sale of the items on Sunday.

After the sale, the event raised over $3,500 to help patients suffering with ALS, Whaley stated in an email Monday.

“It exceeded my wildest dreams in participation and money raised,” she said. “I am overwhelmed with the community participation to support this worthwhile project.”

Later in the day Friday, the 4-H and FFA members were back in the ring showing their sheep and goats.

The afternoon was began with the Shepard’s Lead event. Participants escorted a sheep into the ring while wearing outfits that consisted of wool products. This event raises interest in the wool industry while having a lighter, fun side to the day. The contestants each had to write a script that was read by the announcer, before making their way to the judges table where they were asked several questions about their outfit and wool.

Unlike the swine show that had the showmanship first, both the sheep and goat shows started with breeding animals before proceeding to market animals closing their event with showmanship.

*Editor’s Note: Full results from the Sumner County Fair will publish on Aug. 16.

While the goat show was taking place the first of two live concerts was taking place on the main stage.

Wellington’s The Lough Brothers and Makayla Brownlee performed their music to the crowd gathered while children finished the annual Peddle Power Tractor Pull on the main concourse.

The first full day wrapped up with a glow dance on main street.

Saturday started early again, as 4-H and FFA members presented their cattle for the judge. Like the sheep and goat show on Friday, the cattle started with the breeding classes before moving to market beef and showmanship.

Following the large cattle, the bucket calves were displayed followed by the PeeWee show.

The PeeWee show allowed youngsters who are not 4-H age or have never been around farm animals a chance to be in the show ring. Each contestant was awarded a Blue Ribbon for their efforts as smiles and cell phones taking pictures could be seen everywhere.

With the animal portion of the fair mostly complete visitors were treated to the Sumner County Antique Tractor Association tractor pull just east of the fair grounds, full story on page B1.

An inflatable waterslide was setup both days for children to take part in and on Saturday a large pile of sand was filled with coins for the children to dig through.

The evening closed with the kiddie parade followed by the parade through downtown and the second of two performances on the stage.

Caldwell native and recognized as one of the world’s premier fiddle players, Byron Berline, showcased his talents for the audience.

Weather did play a minor role in the weekend as heavy thunderstorms moved through Sumner County late in the evening.

Sunday closed the events at the fair grounds as entries were gathered with their ribbons, animals loaded onto trailers and the annual animal auction all took place.

One thing noticeably missing this year was the lack of a carnival. The Kansas Amusement Ride Act became effective on July 1, 2017 forcing all amusement rides to be licensed and inspected before their rides and inflatables could be used. This forced one vendor to have to withdraw from the fair.

After the accident at the Ohio State Fair the previous weekly, that tragically killed one person and injuring seven others as a ride broke apart while in operation. The investigation into the accident revealed excessive corrosion as the cause of the accident.

Dates for the 2018 Sumner County Fair have not been announced yet, but the annual Figure-8 Race and Demolition Derby are scheduled for Aug. 18-19 at 8 p.m. at the Demo Derby Grounds in Caldwell. The money raised from the event serves as a fundraiser for the Sumner County Fair.