County fair is a real learning experience for a city boy

RBC — There’s no hiding the fact I’m a city boy.
Even though I grew up in an agricultural state, I lived in a good-sized city with a major university. I never was in 4-H or FFA. The only reason I took shop class in high school was because it was required.
So, the Rio Blanco County fair was an educational experience for me.
And I loved it.
From the beef … uh, parts I had for lunch one day (actually, they were quite good, especially with cocktail sauce), to learning a few of the tricks on how to show a pig, to trying to find my way out of the maze of gates behind the rodeo chutes, I had a great time.
Speaking of time, the 4-H families, the 4-H leaders and all of those who had a hand in putting on the fair must have spent every waking hour, or so it seemed, at the fairgrounds. They probably felt like it after it was all over.
It was nice to see folks from both Meeker and Rangely who were there as spectators, or helping out in some capacity, or to support the 4-H’ers, or just to enjoy the good food.
I practically ate all of my meals last weekend at the fair. From lamb on a stick, to the stock growers’ barbecue, to the Lions Club barbecue, to those Rocky Mountain oysters, there was no excuse to go hungry at the fair.
I even got to sample a small piece of chocolate fudge pie made by a spry 87-year-old woman who was visiting Meeker during the fair. She brought her pie to the exhibit hall to enter in the pie contest.
Eating the beef b…s, I mean, Rocky Mountain oysters, I couldn’t help but think about a new book I checked out from the library. It’s about a medical quack from Kansas in the 1920s who promoted and popularized goat gland replacement as a way to increase virility.
If I could make one suggestion about the fair, it would be to replace the lighting in the livestock arena. The lighting is terrible for picture taking.
Being a city boy, I was out of my element at the fair. It reminded me of my days when I was the publications editor for the Kansas Farm Bureau. KFB, as it’s known, is like the Colorado Farm Bureau. There’s the insurance side, and there’s the agricultural side. I worked for the ag side, writing articles for a weekly newsletter and monthly magazine, issuing press releases and dealing with the media.
It was a wonderful experience. I didn’t know anything about agriculture, but I always figured if you did your homework, you could write about any subject. So, I asked a lot of questions. They may have been dumb questions — just like some of the ones I asked during the county fair — but people were always more than happy to try to “educate” a city boy about the ways of farming and ranching.
When I was with Kansas Farm Bureau, I used to jokingly say I was the token Jayhawk. Most of the staffers on the ag side had attended Kansas State, which is the ag college. There’s a rivalry between the two state schools in Kansas, just like there is between Colorado and Colorado State. I used to have all sorts of cruel things done to the Jayhawk paraphernalia in my office on the eve of the KU and K-State football game. In Kansas, they jokingly refer to the ag school as silo tech. Of course, they refer to the other school as snob hill. The two schools pretty much hate each other, which I’m sure is how CU and CSU feel about each other.
So, I may not know the difference between showmanship and market classes, or why swine are called swine and not pigs, and goats are the ones with the long ears, right? But there’s one thing I do know. All of the participants and the workers in the Rio Blanco County fair are to be congratulated.
You all deserve a blue ribbon.

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Three of my four kids (the oldest one couldn’t make it) were here a couple of weekends ago, along with my parents, to visit the area for the first time. While here, they took in the Smoking River Powwow. Thanks to everyone they encountered who made my family feel welcome.
A special thanks to the good folks at Grace Bible Church for their hospitality as well as Sandy and Mickey at the White River Museum, who were very generous in telling my parents about the history of the area.
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I received an e-mail from a Rangely reader with another tip on removing stains from a piece of clothing. You may recall I had a number of people offer suggestions on how to remove ink stains from one of my favorite shirts, everything from milk to baking soda to rubbing alcohol. My mom called me last week with yet another stain-removing idea — lemon juice. But Cheri in Rangely has found something that works for her — hairspray. So, thanks, Cheri and everyone else who gave me ideas on what to try. Hopefully, one of them will work. If not, I may have to use the other suggestion someone gave me — buy a new shirt.