Archive for Wednesday, August 16, 2000

County closes book on annual 4-H fair

August 16, 2000

As the 2000 Leavenworth County Fair rolled to a close, tents folded, generators ceased to rumble, hamburger grills cooled and the sounds of laughter faded as the young 4-H'ers climbed into pickup trucks and rode away, another county fair under their belts.

This year, perhaps, the fair symbolized more than normal as the fairgrounds were devastated by the May 11 tornado.

Larry Mosbacher, who with Glenn Barry and Jim Sullivan, shouldered much of the work of putting the rabbit barn back together by renovating another building at the fairgrounds said it was amazing that buildings were rebuilt or repaired in time for the fair.

It was business as usual Friday morning as Nathan Madden, a member
of Leavenworth Leaders 4-H Club, cleaned out the stall where his
champion bucket calf stayed in the cattle barn during the
Leavenworth County Fair.

It was business as usual Friday morning as Nathan Madden, a member of Leavenworth Leaders 4-H Club, cleaned out the stall where his champion bucket calf stayed in the cattle barn during the Leavenworth County Fair.

"It's almost an act of God that everything was put back together," he said.

Costs of rebuilding the rabbit barn were minimal, Mosbacher said. The new roof was put on by contractors free of charge, with the only cost being materials. Then basically, the three volunteers, Mosbacher, Barry and Sullivan, did much of the remaining work.

They were prepared for the fair, but nothing could prepare them for the heat.

Rabbits don't tolerate high temperatures well, which made it a challenge to keep the rabbits and healthy on Tuesday and Wednesday when high temperatures and high humidity made it nearly unbearable for man and beast. Unlike most years when all livestock stay at the fairgrounds through Saturday, this year, the rabbits that seemed to be suffering in the heat were allowed to be taken home earlier.

The rest, the ones that stayed, were given sprays of water every 30 minutes or so, and 4-H'ers and their parents made periodic rounds of the barn, checking for signs of heat prostration.

Tyler Hutchins, 8, nearly lost Snowball, his 9-pound New Zealand rabbit, to the heat.

"We moved his cage near the fan, sat him on a bag of ice and put a cold towel over him," said Tyler's mother, Sharon Hutchins.

Tyler's other two rabbits, Mike and Sharon (named after his father and mother) are smaller rabbits of the Netherland Dwarf family and tolerated the heat better.

The rabbit barn symbolizes what 4-H is all about, said Tyler's mother, Sharon Hutchins.

"Everybody sticks together in the rabbits," she said. "It's like a big family down here and everybody looks out for everybody else's rabbits. We all work together it's great."

Mossbacher, whose daughter Hilary brought 21 rabbits to the fair, said that's fewer than they'd hoped to bring.

Gus Dent rides with other Oz characters on the Have a Heart float
in last Wednesday night's fair parade.

Gus Dent rides with other Oz characters on the Have a Heart float in last Wednesday night's fair parade.

"We would've had more, but a couple of the litters didn't pan out," he said.

Mossbacher, who has been active in the rabbit department for years, said he and the other 4-H'ers missed the old rabbit barn, but said the move wasn't all bad.

"The old barn was roomier, but this one has a concrete floor and it's cleaner, there's not as much dust," he said. "But still there was a lot of history lost when the old barn was destroyed. After all, we'd been in there for 15 years."

Rockets competition blasts through fair
The rocketry competition began with a loud whoosh and a thick rope of black smoke trailing in the skyward path of a model rocket.

Blackbirds high overhead scattered as the painted cardboard missile crossed their space in the sky. And then, as the crowd of onlookers searched for a glimpse of the fast-traveling rocket, the parachute popped out and the rocket began a slow and graceful descent, its direction changing course as prevailed upon by the summer breeze.

As the homemade rocket neared the earth, children ran toward its direction, hoping to retrieve it.

Like it does every year, the rocketry exhibit drew a crowd again.

While the 4-H'ers set up their rockets for blast-off, Michelle Briggs and her children, Matthew, 6, Kelsi, 5, and Megan, 3, made themselves at home on a blanket, complete with a picnic lunch of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and sliced cantaloupe.

Matthew held his sandwich in both hands as he talked about why he liked the rockets.

"Because they shoot off and I like to see the parachutes," he said.

Kelsi said she liked the sounds the rockets make and Megan said she likes to see them shoot off.

But Matthew, who plans to begin 4-H next year and to take rocketry, hasn't yet become comfortable with the noise level of the sport. He still covers his ears when the rockets take off.

Brian Lee, 13, readied his Heatseeker rocket for competition. This is his first year in rocketry and he's already faced a hazard common in the field.

"I got one lost in the woods," he said.

The one he was shooting for competition included a C65 engine, which he said meant it should go up about 800 feet.

Nearby, Arthur Rollins checked out the switches on a rocket launcher made by his grandfather, Willard Masopust. The wooden box, which holds a battery and controls, was complete with an on/off switch and a power button.

Rollins' entry this year was a Big Dog, rated to go 700 feet sky high, but with the engine he had in it, he was expecting it to soar only about 100 feet.

Rollins grinned when asked what was the biggest challenge of getting ready for the rocketry competition:

"It was rebuilding the rocket after it exploded," he said.

Pam Frazier, whose husband, Joe Frazier, headed the rocketry project this year, said there were 43 entries.

"It's getting bigger every year," she said. "And the kids have so much fun with it."

Normally, the 4-H'ers who win purple ribbons or better on the workmanship of their rockets don't shoot them off at the fair. That way, if they go on to the State Fair in Hutchinson, their rockets will still be in good shape and not hanging from some tree limb somewhere.

That's what nearly happened to Kirk Miller, whose purple-ribbon rocket qualified for state, and who did launch his rocket Friday.

"His rocket went into the trees east of the launch site and was hanging about 30 feet in the air from the branch of a locust tree," Frazier said.

The only alternative, she said, was to call in the big guys the Tonganoxie Fire Department.

"They got their ladder and their hook and brought it down," Frazier said. "It was OK, there was just a little bit of wood from the tree stuck on the tube."

The reserve champion rocket this year was built by the Basehor Rustler 4-H Club. Five members, Donald McGuire, Ryan Mogle, Josh Van Tuyl, Ethan Douglas and Lauren Hines designed and built their rocket.

Draft horse pull a family affair
Pulling draft horses may not be big business. But for some fans of the sport, it's a big hobby.

Tommy Nichols, Kingsville, Mo., carted his Belgians, Dave and Shorty, to the Leavenworth County Fair last week and swept up first place in the pulling contest.

The 3,500-pound team came close to tripling its weight, digging in to pull a total of 9,000 pounds.

Nichols, a retired dump truck driver, said it's always been relaxing to work his teams. He works his horses five days a week for about two hours at a stretch. He started by pulling ponies and graduated to the big league. One might wonder what draws a person into a hobby that is so labor-intensive.

"My dad did it, my grandfather did it, and my uncle did it," Nichols said. "I started pulling ponies when I was 13 years old I'm an old man now and I'm still doing it."

To feed his team takes some doing. The pair daily consumes about six gallons of grain and a bale of hay.

In horse-pulling circles, Daniel Gray, Villisca, Iowa, is known as a winner.

Gray was named second-place winner in last week's meet. As he hurried along, taking turns entering his two teams in competition, Gray's children, Danielle, 12, and Cody, 5, stood by to watch over the teams when their father was in the arena.

This is something they're used to.

"My dad said when we get all done this year, we will have been to 27 pulls," Danielle Gray said.

Besides pulling at smaller contests such as the McLouth Threshing Bee pull and the Leavenworth County Pulls, the Grays compete in state fairs in Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma and Colorado.

And, as other family members are also interested in pulling, some meets are busier than others.

"My grampa pulls, too," Danielle said. "So sometimes my had has to pull four teams during one contest."

Spirit award winner
Debra Barton, who has been involved in 4-H for more than 10 years, earned the spirit award. Unlike most spirit award candidates, Barton was nominated by the 4-H'ers themselves. She has been co-superintendent of the goat project, quiz bowl coordinator, driver and chaperone to various local, regional and state 4-H events. She has also served as project leader for many areas, most notable foods and nutrition for levels 3 and 4.

The Bartons moved to the Tonganoxie area more than 10 years ago. Although they had no children of their own, they willingly became guardians for their two nieces and this started their path down the road to 4-H. The oldest child, Montaleta, was involved in dairy cows and goats, while her sister, Cathy, showed rabbits and goats. Debra found time to home school both girls.

Besides her 4-H activities, Debra has also served as a caregiver for Alzheimer's Disease patients in the area. She is a woman filled with compassion who tries her best to see the good in all. She is a great example to our young people, teaching them to put others first. She has always been in the background, willing to fill the need.

Active in her church, community and 4-H, Debra Barton is a shining example of a 4-H Spirit Award recipient. project, quiz bowl coordinator, driver and chaperone to various local, regional and state 4-H events. She has also served as project leader for many areas, most notable foods and nutrition for levels 3 and 4.

The Bartons moved to the Tonganoxie area more than 10 years ago. Although they had no children of their own, they willingly became guardians for their two nieces and this started their path down the road to 4-H. The oldest child, Montaleta, was involved in dairy cows and goats, while her sister, Cathy, showed rabbits and goats. Debra found time to home school both girls.

Besides her 4-H activities, Debra has also served as a caregiver for Alzheimer's Disease patients in the area. She is a woman filled with compassion who tries her best to see the good in all. She is a great example to our young people, teaching them to put others first. She has always been in the background, willing to fill the need.

Active in her church, community and 4-H, Debra Barton is a shining example of a 4-H Spirit Award recipient.

Annual parade rolls through Tonganoxie
Kansas truly is the Land of Oz and there was a lot of oos and ahs with the Leavenworth County Fair Parade going through town. Lions, and tigers, and cows oh my!

It was a long, hot, tiring journey along the yellow brick road for Dorothy, Toto, and all of her friends to make it to the Land of Oz just as it was for the parade participants on Wed-nesday to the Leavenworth Fairgrounds.

The big parade started at Fourth and Main streets and made its way straight for the fairgrounds. People from all over came to join in watching the parade. Even though the weather was humid and hot, many people tolerated it to have a good time and watch the parade go by.

The parade started at about 6:30 p.m. with Leavenworth County Sheriff's Department vehicles making their way down the street and soon after they were followed by many bright red fire trucks, funny clowns, beautiful ponies, political candidates, classic cars, dance teams and cheerleaders, 4H-ers, loud and peppy school bands, Army trucks, and Demolition Derby racers.

Also, along the way there were many different scenes in the parade that made it a little different and exciting, a giant statue of a cow from Roberts Dairy Products, and Siberian tigers from Stephens Exotic Animals.

The theme for this year's parade was "Wizard of Oz" and many 4H-ers and other organizations took a lot of time and effort designing their floats and cars. Some people made banners and others dressed up to look like Dorothy, Scarecrow, Lion and Tin Man. Even some people made up little chants and posters to go with the theme of the parade.

And finally, just like those characters in the Wizard Of Oz, the parade participants all made it down their own yellow brick road to the Leavenworth County Fair through hot weather, hard work and dressy costumes.

Auction posts a successful year
First State Bank and Trust of Tonganoxie purchased 14 animals Friday night at the 35th annual Livestock 4-H/FFA Auction at the fair. First State was one of many businesses that bid at the auction to help support the 4-H'ers involved in the various animal projects.

"We know the kids put a lot of hard work into their projects and they are not always able to make money or break even," said Bill New, chairman of the bank. "I think the auction is a good, worthwhile cause."

New said his bank normally purchases about the same number of animals each year. First State spent $3,725 in premiums for the 4-H'ers. It purchased a wide range of animals and quality of animals from sheep to goats to lambs and cattle.

"We try to spread out our bidding," New said. "We try to support all the 4-H'ers. I like to think that we support our customers' children as much as possible. I thought this year's sale went pretty good."

Another big major purchaser was Evans Real Estate. Each year, the company receives between 15 and 20 letters from youths wanting the firm to bid on their cows. This year, J.W. Evans said he received 22. Evans said his business purchases two or three animals each year. This year one of Evans' top purchases was the Grand Champion Market Lamb for $600. The lamb was raised by Laura Barnes, Tonganoxie.

First State was the second purchaser of the evening, behind Evans, with the Champion All Other Breeds Market Lamb for $275.

The list of purchasers was seemingly endless. The Mirror purchased the Reserve Cham-pion Maine Angus from Beth Knetter of Tonganoxie for $425.

"This is just one small way for us to show our support for 4-H and the annual fair," said Caroline Trowbridge, editor and publisher of The Mirror. "The 4-H youth work so hard during the year that we're pleased to help recognize that."

Murrfield Farms Supply of McLouth purchased the Champion Dairy Meat Goat; First State, Champion Other Meat Goat; Seven combined Leavenworth businesses, the Grand Champion Market Hog; and Rusty Eck Ford-Lincoln-Mercury, the Grand Champion Market Beef Steer.

Of course, the animal projects are more than about the money made from the sale. The projects teach children to be businesswomen and businessmen by producing a product and marketing the product. Most buyers will pay the premium and then give the animal to a floor buyer, who will then pay the floor price, or market price, for the animal.

"The whole program teaches the kids how to be responsible," said Bill Petrie of Commerce Bank.

Horse riders strut their stuff at show
Shannon Smith, 11, Ton-ganoxie, rode away from the Open Horse Show, sponsored last week by the Leavenworth County Horse Group, with a big smile on her face.

"I was really proud of myself," Smith said. "I was definitely more competitive than last year."

Smith placed first in her four riding classes in the sweltering evening. She also managed a first-, third- and fourth-place performance in halter classes.

"I was really surprised," Smith said.

She attributes her success to a little more relaxation in the arena.

"First of all, I was not jerking on my horse's mouth," she said. "Major (her horse) normally has a high head set, but I've been working a lot."

Smith placed first in Western Horsemanship (10- to 13-year-olds), Western Pleasure (4-H members only), Western Pleasure (10- to 13-year-olds) and Senior Western Pleasure (horse 6 and over).

Smith was just one of more than 50 exhibitors competing in the 32 classes.

Exhibitors from all over Leavenworth County and surrounding areas competed at the show.

The largest class was the very first of the evening, 2000 Foal at Halter. Jan Michael, Tonganoxie, placed first.

Another hot class for the show was the Egg-on-Spoon class. The object for the riders was to keep an egg on a plastic spoon while performing all the regular gaits. As soon as the announcer asked the horses to canter, eggs were dropping and breaking all over the place. It was hard to determine who went out when. Scott Conder, Olathe, left the class as the victor, the only person left with his egg on the spoon.

Other classes included English Equitation, English Pleasure, Leadline and to top off the night, Reining.

Even though the turnout was not as large as normal for the Open Show, many did attend.

"We are very pleased with the turnout," Becky Fousek, one of the Horse Group's leaders, said. "It's a great fund-raiser for the 4-H Horse Group."

Amy Train, Keith Burner and Sheila Partridge contributed to this report on the fair.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.