Are County 4-H Shows Becoming Too Much?


Have you ever thought of the fair being two separate weeks?  Like many different counties, Cass County used to have two weeks for each fair.  Those fairs were the Cass County Fair and then the 4-H fair.  People tended to believe that only the 4-H fair would last and that the County Fair would not.  They decided that with how much the community supports the children and helps them that the County Fair would go to the dump. 


Support from the community is what other people think of when they hear Cass County.  It does not matter if it is a sporting event, fair, or family tragedy that occurs, everyone knows that the community comes together.  Each day during the Cass County 4-H fair you see people that you haven’t seen all year.  If the fair was not the entertainment site it is, would we ever see half the people we normally do?  Fairs bring people together but also the community.  The community shows up to give children an experience they have never seen before.  That experience could range from seeing different species of animals to the businesses in the merchant buildings.  Each aspect that the community presents is a new experience for young children.  Sadly, most of the community comes later in the day when all the livestock shows are over.  If you travel county to county you would be amazed at how little livestock there is compared to our County.  Cass County is blessed to have the amount of animals and family members who care about their livestock.  With that being said it leads to one question, are 4-H county livestock shows becoming too much?


With the inflation coming from our economy, it has raised the cost of livestock and their necessities.  Bedding for the animal and especially feed and medicine prices have skyrocketed.  This rise in the money needed to show livestock has caused the number of exhibitors at fairs and also at open shows to decrease.  Also, the money that families are spending on these animals nowadays is absurd.  They might as well just call it an animal beauty contest right?  With all the products they put on before the show and then expensive feed costs, pricey is an understatement.  20-30 years ago the fair was a place where you brought animals so you could be with your friends and family.  That has changed drastically over the last few years.  My parents remember their fair experience and how nobody cared what place they got.  All they cared about was having fun with their friends at the fair.  Now, it seems like nobody is showing up just for fun.  They are trying to go for the top prize and don’t care how much money they spend getting there.  Although the money you receive from being first is worth it, the money you lose when you aren’t is not.  There is a possibility you can spend $5,000 on an animal and it just is not what the judge looks for.  The judge can decide on what he likes, not the most expensive one.  Although there are times that the animal that wins is the most expensive one.


In conclusion, the rise in money needed to show livestock has caused a decrease in the number of exhibitors.  The kids who maybe were just doing it for fun, now see no point in it because of the price.  The slippery slope of this issue has left families paying outrageous prices just for an animal.  Cass County is able to keep its numbers high compared to others because of the support from the community.


My personal 4-H experience as a 9 year member.