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Showtime is Here Again for 4-H Exhibitors

County fairs underway and state fair won't be far behind.

If it seems like just yesterday you were worrying about getting your corn and soybeans were planted, then you may feel like Rip Van Winkle. Maybe you think you just woke up from a long nap, because all of a sudden it's county fair time, or nearly county fair time, across Indiana. And with the Indiana State Fair starting on August 2, the summer is on a fast track toward fall already!

Before we get too far ahead, some important things have to happen, like corn pollination and good weather in August for soybeans. Meanwhile, county fair livestock shows will happen all across the state. Done right, they're a chance to teach kids about life lessons: winning, losing, sportsmanship. Done wrong they're the breeding ground for young adults that think it's OK to cheat on about anything.

Hey, mom and dad used to help us cheat on our animals in 4-H, so why can't we fudge on our taxes or pad our expense accounts?

Believe it or not those are the messages you're sending as a parent if you go down the road of fudging on things and doctoring animals. One parent came to an open show for youth showmen once and sat down with the ladies doing registration by breeds. He had a stack of cards in his hand, one for each animal. The kid, actually showing the animals, was nowhere to be seen.

"OK, how many natural colors do you have? Only two? Well, then this one is a natural color," he said.

(In case you're not into sheep natural color is a class recognized in most sheep shows. The parent was deciding which breed the sheep were based on which class he thought HE could win, paying little regard to the actual breeding behind the sheep!)

If that's what you think county fairs are about, then I feel sorry for your kids – not necessarily you. You should know better. If you need a trophy or banner that bad, go to a trophy shop and buy one. Someday it

You don't want your kids taking home a trophy they shouldn't have won because they, or at least their parents, cheated in one way or another.

Let's head into this show season with a clean slate. And may the best show person or the person with the best natural animal win this year. How refreshing would that be?

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