See fair results here.
By Steve Hansen
QCS Managing Editor
The Quay County Fair is about young people.
It’s about a year’s worth of care, feeding, medicating, grooming, cleaning out stalls and watching as a calf becomes a heifer or a steer, as a piglet becomes a hog, a lamb a sheep, a kid a goat.
It’s about a spring and summer’s weeding, feeding and watering resulting in a crop of peppers, zucchini, or a melon that are then cleaned, polished and carefully placed on a plate for the judges.
The fair is what 4-H and FFA members prepare for, with lots of guidance from parents and other caring adults, all year.
To be sure, there are plenty of areas in which adults compete, including sewing, baking, fine arts and floral arranging. Even the sponsored booths compete among themselves, but most of the attention at any given time is focused on the show events in which 4-H and FFA members in grade school, middle school and high school show their results from the hard work of raising livestock, fruits and vegetables.
The rewards? Usually ribbons, but in the livestock divisions, it can become cash as animals are auctioned at the fair’s end. This year’s auctions distributed $100,000 among the winners, according to Janet Griffiths, the fair’s treasurer.
Some of the sale highlights:
• The top price for a steer was $8,800 paid for the grand champion steer presented by Bailey Smith. The buyers included Russell’s Truck and Travel Center and the Cattlemen’s Club.
• Kambry Burns’ prize-winning hog was sold for $2,400 by Nustar, the New Mexico Property Group, Dowell Show Lambs, the Logan Buyer’s Club and the Annex restaurant, Griffiths said.
•Two goats were sold for $2,000 each. Taalyah Szaloy’s pize winner was purchased by First Title, Cattlemen’s Livestock Auction, Modern Woodmen of America, McElroy and Associates, Dr. Balzano, New Beginnings and NAPA Auto Parts. Dylan Szaloy’s champion goat was purchased by Ty and Leslie Marshall, Griffiths said.
• Two prize-winning lambs sold for $2,500 each. Savannah Tompson’s lamb was purchased by Ty and Leslie Marshall, and Chance Romero’s prize-winner was sold to Citizens Bank.
And don’t forget the midway.
This year’s fair was the second at which Sun Valley Rides offered a minute or two of disorientation on its thrill rides to paying customers, and the carnival did better by about $2,000 — almost 9 percent — than last year, from just over $23,000 to just over $25,000, according to Brenda Bishop, who headed the effort to coordinate this year’s fair. The carnival with its rides improved attendance in both years, she said.
Bishop and veteran fair board members like Bob Frost, said it seemed that this year’s fair was better attended than last year’s, but since admission is free, no one takes an official count. Bishop also said the number of entries in fair competition “balanced out,” compared with last year.
“Some had more. Some had less,” she said of the fair’s competitive events. Most of the fair’s attendance, she said, consists primarily of the young people who enter their efforts and their parents. But there are hundreds of parents and other adults who volunteer to keep things running smoothly, she said. “We couldn’t do it every year without all those volunteers.”
Frost credited the fair’s success in large part to how well everyone worked together and dealt with issues as they arose. When it rained during the livestock sales, he said, “Everybody just bunched together a little tighter” under the shelter and the show went on.
For Thomas Dominguez, Quay County Agricultural Extension agent, this fair was his last for Quay County, as its ag agent. On Sept. 3, Dominguez begins his duties as the extension agent for Otero County in Alamogordo.
This year’s fair, he said, “was one of the best we’ve had.” He was especially encouraged, he said, to see a lot of new kids entering, and many more entries under some animal categories, as well as many new, young volunteers who helped keep things moving smoothly, he said.