Chances are, some of you were in 4-H or FFA. A rite of passage for both of these groups is the county fair. A chance to show the surrounding citizens your ability to grow a plant, raise an animal or make something.

Moffett tim
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Two times in my life, I won a blue ribbon. One was the pie-eating contest, and the other was when I showed a pig. And you know I was a fat kid when the judge shook the pig’s hand and put the ribbon on me.

I’ve been to a few fairs in my travels and seen some things. Here in Florida, a 4-H group had some kids who grew orange trees. I thought they’d have each kid stand next to their own tree in a row, and the judge would observe each tree. I was wrong. Each kid loaded their own tree onto a wagon and pulled it around the rodeo rink in a circle like you would for a steer. The judge stood in the middle and judged each tree as the mini-parade surrounded him. Apparently, the judge was actually a consultant who had never seen an orange tree up close. He normally rides in an air-conditioned truck and views trees from a distance to make his judgement calls. There was a chubby kid whose wheel fell off his wagon, and his little tree took a header into the sawdust. The kid then made up a story that he hadn’t spent enough time working with his tree, and his tree wasn’t fully trained or broke. That kid got a blue ribbon in pulp fiction.

At another fair, I saw a little girl win the showmanship ribbon with her chicken. Every kid took their chicken out of their little cages and then placed the chicken on a table. The chicken basically clucked, turned his head and just stood there – because the table was only 6 inches by 6 inches. It’s not as if the chicken could walk away. Call me crazy, but how is that showmanship? The oranges on a wagon in a circle did more than that chicken. To win a showmanship ribbon, I want to see a chicken play the piano, solve a Rubik’s Cube or fry an egg. That’s showmanship.

And for you adults who still show cows, horses, dogs, cats and even goats, y’all are taking this stuff seriously. The reason I’ve never owned a “show animal” is because it would probably die in a freak accident on the way home from where I purchased it. So I commend you for all your dedication and commitment in your all-white clothing and numbered vests. Driving miles and miles to bring home the ribbon. I’ve seen some of these animal “pageants” – and it looks like an episode of the Cowdashians. Hair spray, implants, hair dyeing, toupees and prosthetics … and that’s just the animals.


I gotta go. Time to get dressed. I’m in an Elvis look-a-like contest.

Visit Tim at Tim the Dairy Farmer.