Archive for Wednesday, August 15, 2001

County fair ends on successful note

August 15, 2001

With a parade, auction, several competitions, rides and high attendance, many could say the Leavenworth County Fair had a successful week at the fairgrounds in Tonganoxie.

From photography to gardening to sports, 4-H members from around the county came to compete at the fair, while residents came to the fair to enjoy the rides and varieties of foods and crafts for sale.

While there were plenty of events to participate in this year at the fair, the livestock auction has remained a staple of 4-H competition and fun.

More than 160 different farm animals were sold at the livestock auction at the Leavenworth County Fair on Friday, Aug 10, and fair officials say this year's numbers were as strong as ever.

"There were as many animals in the auction as there has ever been," said Beth Hecht, K-State Research and Extension office of Leavenworth County . "This year pretty much falls in line with the past auctions."

In this 36th year of the auction, potential buyers were able to choose between purchasing cattle, sheep, pigs, rabbits and goats, and some buyers bought several different kinds.

Although judging the attendance for the event is difficulty because spectators come and go, Hecht said the auction was well attended.

Although the Fair is supposed to be a fun time for county residents and the local 4-H clubs, Hecht said it isn't fun for the animals.

"Every animal that gets sold in the auction goes straight to the slaughterhouse," Hecht said.

Hecht said sale totals for the auction were still being calculated, but rough estimates indicate that this year's auction broke Fair records.

"This year's premium sales were right around $70,000," Hecht said. "We aren't sure about the total, but I think we might have broken some records this year. It (the auction) was just as strong as usual.

We had a lot of loyal buyers and we had a lot of new buyers. It was just a good turnout."

As for the future of the auction, Hecht said as long as the Leavenworth County fair is around, the auction will be as well.

"It teaches the kids how to raise high quality animals and the amount of responsibility involved in doing that," Hecht said. "These kids that bring in the animals have to feed them, get them vaccinated, present them and market them. The bottom line is they learn what it takes to care for their animals." One of the more modern competitions among 4-Hers is the aerospace competition.

In Clinton Kissinger's mind, participating in the rocket launching competition at the Leavenworth County Fair is easy, and it's also fun.

"When you launch them and you get to see them shoot up," Kissinger said. "It's just real fun to watch them go up that high."

Kissinger, 10, was one of several 4-Hers involved in the Saturday, Aug. 11, rocket launching competition at the Leavenworth County Fair. The competition was originally scheduled for Friday morning, but was moved to Saturday because of rain, 4-H officials said.

4-H members, varying in skill level, launched more than a dozen rockets at the competition. Each year, a 4-H member participates in the competition, their skill level goes up.

This is the second year Kissinger, a Tonganoxie resident, has been involved in the competition. At last year's contest, he won a purple ribbon for his rocket. He said he had high hopes for his rocket, Polaris, this year.

"I hope it does well," Kissinger said. "They judge the rockets on all kinds of stuff like the paint job, the fins, and how well it was put together."

In viewing some of the rockets launched before his, Kissinger was able to tell what went right or wrong with the rockets.

"That one must have had a bent rod," Kissinger said, when viewing a rocket that took a crash landing. "Hopefully that won't happen to mine."

Kissinger's Polaris was the last rocket in line for the competition and as his launch grew closer, he was confident his model would do well.

"We put it way down at the end of the line because the wind is a little better down here," Kissinger said while explaining his position in the competition. "That way we won't have to chase it all over."

And finally with his launch, the model Polaris shot up to its estimated height with ease, opened its parachute, and landed softly on the ground, with no damage to the rocket exterior, save one small knick on a fin.

"It went pretty good," Kissinger said. "Hopefully it'll do even better next year."

However, Kissinger came in second to first place finisher, Ryan Mogle of Basehor.

Hecht said the entire fair was a success and everyone who participated in 4-H competitions were winners, whether they placed first, second or third.

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