TORRINGTON – There’s no easy way to put it – this has been a tough year in Goshen County, and in the agricultural community in particular.
The Western Sugar beet processing facility shut down, and Western Sugar up and left several hundred workers with nowhere to go. Then, just a few weeks ago, an irrigation tunnel collapsed along the Fort Laramie-Gering Canal. It brought irrigation to a halt for more than 100,000 acres of farmland in Wyoming and Nebraska, and will surely have an impact on this year’s harvest – though it’s too early to say how much of an impact.
But in the shadow of all that doom and gloom, perhaps it’s time to have some fun - rootin, tootin’ fun, to boot.
Rootin’ Tootin’ Fun at the 2019 Goshen County Fair began Thursday with interviews and vet checks for the Supreme Cow Program, but the 4-H dog agility contest, which begins tonight at 6:30 p.m., is the first competitive event.
According to Megan Brittingham, 4-H Educator and County Coordinator, the fair is a way to let the ag community know that, despite current troubles, the future is secure.
“When I think about it, I see it as an opportunity to let our ag community know that the industry will continue and that it is in some good young hands,” she said. “As these kids move out of the show ring and they move onto their own farms and ranches, I think they’re going to know what needs to be done.”
Brittingham said there are more than 2,000 entries in this year’s fair, spread amongst some 300 kids and a multitude of categories.
“Speaking as the 4-H agent, for the 4-H and FFA kids, the fair is the culmination of a year’s worth of work,” she said. “These kids identified their 4-H projects last fall, so many of our kids have been working on their 4-H projects that they exhibit during fair week since that time.”
The projects provide 4-H members and FFA students with an opportunity to get their hands dirty on a project that doesn’t necessarily involve a screen. It promotes growth amongst the participants, Brittingham said.
“It is experiential learning at its finest,” she said. “I call it a great learning laboratory. Kids will often times take their project from last year’s fair, and they decide what they want to improve on with their projects and carry it over to this year. They want to learn more about showmanship, or they wanted to learn about daily rate of gain, and then they put that into practice.
“They had to do all the work – and now we are going to see how that works for them.”
More than show animals
The Goshen County Fair is more than the animal shows, however.
“It is also a neat opportunity for all of Goshen County to come celebrate agriculture, too. There is a lot more to the fair and then the 4-H and FFA stuff, too,” Brittingham said.
There are family events scheduled all week throughout the fair.
Tuesday, Aug. 6 will be highlighted by the Youth Rodeo Series at 6 p.m. in the Pavilion. The 4-H building will also be open for visitors from 3 to 9 p.m.
The next evening, Aug. 7, will be Family Night at the Fairgrounds. There will be a bake sale at 4 p.m. in the Ag Hall. The annual Sheep Lead Contest will be at 5 p.m. in the grass show ring, and the Goshen Sheep Producers Lamb BBQ and Platte Valley Bank Ice Cream Social will be at 5:30 p.m.
The activities will continue in the Pavilion at 6 p.m. The Pinnacle Bank Young’uns Round-Up, Lil Bits N’ Spurs Dog Races, and the H&R Block Buddy Barrel Bonanza will all be contested. Admission to the pavilion events is $5.
Goshen County Fair Day is one of the most hallowed traditions in the county. On Thursday, Aug. 8, it will kick-off with the Ag Breakfast at 6:30 a.m. The annual fair parade, which is always a highlight of the fair, will start at 10 a.m. on Main Street in Torrington.
After the parade, the Wyrulec Ranch Rodeo will take place at 1 p.m. in the pavilion. Admission is $10. The Goshen County Farm Bureau Federation Aglympics wil be held at 3 p.m. in the grass show ring. The Goshen County Barrel Race will be at 5:30 p.m. in the pavilion, and the Banner Health Timed Event Rodeo will follow the barrel race.
Friday at 6 p.m. is the Platte Valley Companies Rubber Check Race. It’s an annual favorite, and it will be held at the pavilion at 6 p.m. Admission is $20 for adults, $10 for kids under 10, and free for kids under five.
Saturday, Aug. 10 is the final day of the Goshen County Fair. The Buyers Breakfast will be at 8 a.m. at the Frontier Shelter, followed by the Junior Livestock Sale at 9 a.m. The Ranch Horse Showcase will be at 10 a.m. in the Sunshine Arena, and the fair will come to close with the Kiwanis Pig Wrestling at 6 p.m. at the Pavilion. Admission is $10.