Wednesday, September 1, 2010

county fair 2010. . .ryenne breaks the bank

So the county fair is all over. 


I tell you, it's a big honkin' deal that pretty much takes over our lives for almost a week.  By Saturday night, I was done.  Done, done. . . done.  Someone asked me, on a scale of one to ten, how tired of the fair I was.  Courtney quickly answered for me. 

"She's at an eleven," he said. 

Anyhow, it really wasn't that bad.  Just busy.  And besides, the girls absolutely love it.  A few weeks before the fair, we were driving past the fairgrounds when Ryenne asked her cousin, "Don't you just love the fair?  I just love it.  The sounds. . .and the rides . . .and I just love how it smells.  Don't you love how the lamb barn smells?  I do.  I can't wait until the fair.  I love everything."

That night I told Courtney that we had to do lambs forever. 

You might wonder what it is that we actually do during fair time.  Well, here you go. . .

The week starts off with lamb washing and shearing.  Monday night found us at Grandma and Grandpa's house, where Grandpa and Ryenne scrubbed the lambs clean and gave them a fresh haircut.  Claire used the opportunity to give herself a scrub too.

Tuesday we stop in at the fairgrounds, where we enter Ryenne's 4-H sewing projects and leave them to be judged and displayed.   

Wednesday?  We are just getting started.  Ryenne and Grandma leave our house bright and early to head to the fairgrounds for the big weigh-in.  The lambs are weighed and booked into their luxury suites inside the lamb barn.  Our lambs are in the Born to Be Baa'd 4H club, and reside under this sign.  (I've always thought it's the cutest one.)
After a long morning of getting the lambs settled, we bake brownies for Dad (it's his birthday!), and set out a few balloons for him to see when he gets home from his stay in Moab.  Then, off to the fair parade!  The older two girls always love to help out Grandpa Bop and their Uncles.  They walk along the parade route and pass out candy along with the rest of their cousins.  Around these parts, that pretty much makes them famous. 

When the parade ends, we rush home to grab jackets, kiss Dad hello, and head up to the lamb barn.  Grandma is awaiting with her shears to give Mrs. Fancy Pants lamb a touch-up.  We're talking 3 or 4 trips to the salon in only one week, ladies.  How would you like that?  Ryenne cries the whole way there because the rest of her cousins are spending the evening at Bulls, Broncs, and Barrels over at the rodeo grounds.  (Grandpa Bop sponsors the evening and so we always get free tickets.)  When Grandma sees how sad Ryenne is, she takes pity on her and sends her off to the rodeo with a promise to meet her at the fairgrounds first thing to take care of the lamb. 

I know what you are thinking by now.  You don't know what I'm complaining about. . .it sounds like Grandma and Grandpa do all the work?  Well. . .okay.  You're absolutely right.  In fact, Courtney and his brother were discussing this very thing.  They were laughing about how much fun the girls have and how much more they seem to enjoy it than Courtney and his siblings did when they were growing up.  It was pretty well apparent that the novelty in all of this is Grandma and Grandpa.  If it were just up to the kids and us boring parents, I'm pretty sure they'd be kicking and screaming the whole way.  The truth is, it's Grandma and Grandpa who deserve the blue ribbon.

The girls have a great time at the rodeo, and even watch a few of their school friends race their horses around the barrels.  (Eight years old!  You should see these girls!)  Even better?  Kate and Emmy talk Bop and their uncles into riding in the trucks around the arena, picking up barrels and throwing goodies into the stands.  They were grinning ear to ear and waving like rodeo queens.  Best part of the night!

Thursday morning Dad drags a sleepy Ryenne out of bed and takes her to breakfast for her big day.  Today is the show!  After some good eats, the two of them meet Grandma to touch up Pork Chop and give her another bath.  Gotta have her looking snazzy for the judge, eh? 

Once Pork Chop is ready, it's time to wait.  Ever heard the saying "Hurry up and wait?"  I swear it was invented during the livestock show at the county fair.  The kids show the lambs according to weight, and Ryenne's lamb is in the 7th class, weighing in at 121 lbs.  (Last year her lamb weighed 139).  All the experts (which obviously does not include me) think Ryenne's lamb is a looker but sure wish she had an extra 10 or 15 lbs. on her. 

Ryenne is a little nervous but does a great job and earns a blue ribbon. 

The show starts at 9:00 am and doesn't end until three in the afternoon.  The best part of it all was that the judge's parents were sitting behind us.  The elderly couple was fit to be tied about how long their son was taking to make a decision.

"It didn't take him this long to choose a wife!"

"He's touched them all a hundred times!"

The exciting news is that one of Grandma and Grandpa's lambs wins Grand Champion.  With over three hundred lambs in the show, this is quite an exciting feat.  (And a really, really big deal around here.)  Before we know it Grandpa and Grandma are talking business again (remember they just sold out?), and Ryenne's lamb is right in the thick of all that talk. 

They want to buy it back.  Bad. 

Oh Boy. . .

On Friday Kate and Emmy gear up for the Pee Wee lead.  They have been looking forward to this all summer and Mom tries to be just as enthused.  We gather up costumes, give the lamb a bath, wrap him up in tinfoil, and end up with this cute little showing. 
(Claire was supposed to be the lion but you can probably guess.  She was entirely too cowardly.)

Up against the likes of this. . .
and this. . .
. . .they were thrilled when they won a second place MOST ORIGINAL ribbon. 

PS.  Have you even tried to wrap tinfoil tape around the legs of a lamb who has the trots?  Mmmm.  I have.

We wrap up the evening with yet another "fair burger" and head home for the night.

Saturday morning is the sale.  You know what this means?  Yeah, another lamb washing! 

Courtney and I talk that strategy before he and Ryenne leave that morning.  It is decided that in the event that we don't have a buyer, we will buy the lamb.  Did I just write that?  In the event that we don't have a buyer?  Yip, I am pretty sure that's what I wrote.  Because in the aftermath of the sale, I am a bit bewildered at the execution of our little plan. 

Courtney and his folks are already seated when I arrive in the auction barn.  Grand Champion sells for $2600.00.  (Wouldn't that be lovely?)  Overall, the prices are pretty good.  The average lamb is selling for about $350.00-450.00 (over four hundred being on the high end).  We know that Grandma and Grandpa want to buy Ryenne's lamb back, and we're all thinking they'll get it for about the average price.  Like I said before, we don't have a lot of friends.

(Most buyers are representing corporations who buy livestock at the sale as a philanthropic gesture.  The livestock show at our fair is a great one, and it is telling of the great people who live in this valley.)

Not too long before Ryenne is set to bring her lamb in, one of Uncle Shawn's friends leans over and asks Courtney what Ryenne's sale number is.  He and Courtney joke back and forth, with Courtney warning him not to bid the lamb up too high.  "We gotta at least get it to $500," our friend says.  Courtney mentions that his parents want to buy the lamb back for breeding stock.

At this point, I look at Courtney and remind him of our plan.  If someone is willing to pay for the lamb, let them buy it, I say!  

You'll never guess what happened next.

Cute little Ryenne brings Pork Chop into the barn. 

The auctioneer starts the bidding and before we know it, the place erupts. 

Three hundred.

Three hundred fifty.

Four hundred.

Five hundred.

What in the heck?

At this point, Shawn's friend yells over at Courtney, "You're not a kiddin'!" and drops out.

Someone else wants that lamb.

Every time Courtney or his mom bid, someone at the other end of the stands bids higher.

Six Hundred.

Seven hundred.

At this point, we're all wondering what is going on.  Courtney keeps gaping down the way, trying to see who is bidding.  The auctioneer chastens him, "It doesn't matter who it is, keep on going!", urging him onward and upward. 

I'm getting really nervous at this point as I see our plan going down the tubes.

Seven hundred twenty five.

Courtney looks over at his mom and sees her auction card twitching in her hand.  Afraid she's going to buy Pork Chop for a small fortune, he throws his card in the air instead.

Seven hundred and fifty dollars, folks!


Ryenne made a killing on her own parents.

So far Pork Chop is living with Grandma and Grandpa.  I am not budging on that, although believe me, Courtney has already tried.  And the bright side?  I am told that a ewe typically has a set of twins each year.  Hopefully, Kate and Ryenne will be set up for next summer.  I'm just praying Pork Chop doesn't kick the bucket, if you know what I mean.

We spent the rest of our day following the girls around while they rode a few of the rides.  I say a few because these gals aren't the bravest chicks on the block.  With the exception of Kate, who would ride just about anything, the other two were a little hesitant.  After Courtney bribed them with 5 dollars if they would ride the ZIPPER, Emmy quickly agreed and then said, "I'll probably just puke after".  Lucky for us, she was too short to ride after all.  Ryenne got on a quite a few of the more adventurous rides, only to get back off before they started.  Her usual explanation was that she "just didn't have a good feeling about that". 

(I just laughed when I looked at that last picture.  Emmy is thrilled and having the time of her life.  The ride is just about her pace.  Kate, however, is ticked off that she is on this boring ride and that her older sister is too chicken to ride any of the fun ones with her.)

The girls ended the night with a little dancin' at the bandstand.  Then, after one last plate of fair food, we called it a day and wrapped up the county fair.  The girls are already looking forward to next year.  Lambs, costumes, the sights and smells.  They love every bit of it.

Me too.  You just wait and see, give me a year and I'll be right back at it.

Hopefully Ryenne will spot us a bit of change to pay for it all.


Darcie said...

I. LOVE. this. story!!! $750... it doesn't get better than that!

Kelly, really this looks like SO much fun for your girls. I'm so glad you ended up with the lamb. And your pee-wee costumes are darling. Praying for those twin lambs next spring...

(PS: did you ever find out who was bidding up Pork Chop?)

Heather W. said...

Well.... I do know that 2 bids came from Cottonwood Farm ;) Glad that she did so well.