Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

September 3, 2013

County fair gets year going for FFA

Ezra Mann
Pauls Valley Democrat — The Garvin County Fair is only days away from bringing family fun back to the fairgrounds in Pauls Valley’s Wacker Park, but always ready to make the best of it is each of the local FFA clubs.

It’s the perfect way for the host community’s club led by the high school’s FFA instructor, Scott Stevens, to get their competitive season started as many begin a year’s worth of work.

Focusing this portion on all things agriculture, several students took the time recently to talk about what the event means to them and the life lessons they’ve picked up working with animals that are an inseparable part of the rural scene.

“It just kind of gets the year started,” said Stevens, adding how there are about 10 kids showing livestock this time around and quite a few others ready to get in on activities like tractor obstacle course.

“I think we’ve got some competitive animals.”

For those like Pauls Valley High School senior Sierra Mullen, it’s one last shot at showing the fruits of hard work that often goes back to training as a 4-H member in elementary school.

She noted how out of all the activities in her life, raising lambs for show has taught her the most responsibility including making sacrifices in her personal life to make sure they are fed or groomed as well as making sure their pens are maintained.

“It teaches you responsibility, that’s for sure,” said Mullen. “They’re your responsibility.”

Kaylie and Amanda Upton, sisters who are both juniors, pointed out how as they’ve raised their goats for the past couple of years, the best thing is being able to see weeks and months of preparation pay off. There are a lot of early mornings and late evenings getting the animals into shape and it never stops being interesting each animal has its own personality.

“It’s fun to see your hard work pay off,” said Kaylie Upton.

Hoping to capitalize on her success during the same show a year ago, Amanda will be defending her status as a grand champion through goats.

Each of the kids will be there bright and early before school starts the morning of the show and will end up being two long, fulfilling days.

“I’m kind of anxious because I don’t know how these goats will do in the arena,” said Amanda Upton. “You’ve got to be patient.”

Seniors Amber Sutton and Paige Stevens agreed for any event, the most exiting element was going the distance in competition and that it never goes away no matter how many times one has competed.

Stevens noted when she graduates she will miss the chance to build on the camaraderie of friendship, which did not fade even if one got caught up in taking home the top prize.

“I love doing it, the tension, in the show ring,” said Sutton. “I’ve been doing this since I was little.”

“I enjoy showing and meet a lot of people and made a lot of lifelong friends,” said Stevens, who is competing this last year with pigs.

“When you go in there and you’re in the top five and your heart is beating and you want to win it all… I love the adrenaline of the show,” she added.

The show events get going Friday, Sept. 6 with check-ins for events like poultry as well as rabbits and includes student related events.

The big show with livestock judging comes on Saturday, Sept. 7 as families can check a variety of craft related activities in the fairgrounds’ east building.