I did go to the Faulkner County Fair this year and was very impressed. For the past 80 years our county has produced a county fair that is beneficial to all who attend. I believe that we do see performance rewarded. The youth from all parts of the county that are in 4-H and FFA had their projects on display and were proud to talk about the experience they had gained to be able to get there and show.

I want to commend the Fair Board and their effort put forth by them year-round for plans to make the fair what it is today. Now this year the rain came and really took its toll on Friday and Saturday nights. We all found out that mother nature is still in control even to disrupt the best laid out plans. The great facility that hosts the fair was a safe haven for all of the youth and commercial booths that were committed to being there for most all of the week. I don’t believe there is a better facility in the state for a County Fair.

The parade committee volunteers led by Mr. Sublet spent countless hours planning and working on the parade to offer up the best in Faulkner County for all of the public to see. It may have been the largest one to date involving the schools, queens, clowns and businesses that chose to be apart in the one hour plus parade route. What I saw was great, starting with the little fellows that wanted to walk and talk just like their moms and dads. I saw the real America on display in Conway during the parade route that was filled with thousands of people cheering everyone along as they passed by. It was a great kick off to Fair week and reminded us all what is really important about Faulkner County when we saw our future on display that day.

I watched the competition in many of the livestock judging events. We all saw young people display their animals and yes poultry to where it had the best eye appeal, but there is no substitute for quality and showmanship. I do believe that the older experienced youth had the advantage and should have, but when the 5 to 7 year olds were competing they stole the show. The best in the ring characteristic they have is many more years to be involved and gain the rewards from their performances. Too often we reward red tape over good performance. From the Grand Champions down to the final place the reward was worth the work and effort of the youth involved. 4-H leaders — FFA teachers, and parents that are committed to helping their children gain confidence to face a public arena. On Saturday morning they held the Junior Livestock Premium Auction for the youth that gain benefit rewards for their market animals that placed high enough in their class to make the sale. It may very well be the 8th wonder of the world according to a UCA business professor that has often attended.

The youth proudly walk their animal into the ring and the public supporters start the bidding process. Showmanship, dress, and smiles while displaying their projects is the personal effort to gain a larger bid for effort. The successful bidder leaves the sale only with the joy that carries over into the career development of the young people. This year 79 young people shared in over $115,000 raised for premiums. I commend Rogers Group for setting the stage and all of the buyers for making this the 8th wonder of the world. All of the volunteers that made this week possible and all of the people that support their efforts are special. We are proud of our Faulkner County Fair.

Last week a lot of the youth were at the District Fair at Pine Bluff and then this week they will exhibit at the Arkansas State Fair. The parents are the real winner that builds the confidence for the youth involved. I know first-hand from my family’s involvement for 10 plus years.