Another Rainy River Valley Agricultural Society fall fair in Emo has come and gone but a recurring theme was an increase in competitors in a number of popular events this year.
The 4-H beef show and steer auction saw high numbers of participants, with 22 heifers and 33 steers shown over the weekend.
“That's probably one of our biggest shows we've had in a lot of years, which is great” enthused Kim Jo Bliss, local cattle farmer and longtime 4-H member and organizer.
“We're happy that our heifer numbers keep growing, too, because . . . we want some of these kids to keep on farming and we can't do that without female cows,” she reasoned.
The day began early, starting with the cattle show at 8 a.m. and the steer auction wrapping up around 6 p.m.
Bliss said both went well, with good attendance at each one.
Despite the hot and muggy air, many people filled the stands and gathered around for the steer auction that saw an average price of $4/pound.
As well, every auction participant found a buyer.
This year's Grand Champion was Kaitlyn Hay, who raised a 1,295-pound steer that was purchased by Sunset Country Ford for $6.90/pound (a total of $8,935.50).
Serena Teeple, the Reserve Grand Champion, saw her 1,300-pound steer purchased by Cloverleaf Grocery for $6.25/pound (a total of $8,125).
“When there's 33 like that, I'm happy that it did work out so well,” said Bliss.
“We leave it up to the kids to try to look out there and market themselves, find buyers, and encourage people to take a serious look at buying one of these steers.”
She added while it's a fairly large sum to pay up front, the steers are sold for good prices when compared to a person's grocery bills throughout the year.
“It's just a really good deal," she stressed. "You're getting good meat.”
But 4-H isn't just about selling a steer or showing off a heifer—it's also about building leadership qualities and public speaking, as well as learning the costs and responsibilities of raising an animal.
Bliss noted a calf can cost anywhere from $1,500-$2,000, not including the feed, which can add another $2,000-$3,000.
Most of 4-H kids, however, are from farm families and might work at home and on the farm, or they might be gifted a calf from their parents.
“The arrangements are different for all the kids but a lot of money is actually used for these kids' education so it's pretty important,” said Bliss.
“It's pretty key to a lot of those kids that are out there.”
She added it was a great auction, and the 4-H members, volunteers, and others are just “like one big, happy family.”
Meanwhile, RRVAS board president James Gibson said this year's fair was very successful overall—despite the heat.
“Some of the people are saying they'd never seen so many cars on Saturday night,” he said.
“That place was jammed.”
He added both the loggers' competition and the Emo Speedway not only saw high numbers in attendance but in participants, as well.
Each racing division had at least three heats on both Friday and Saturday nights, with racers battling on the track in front of a filled grandstand.
The loggers' competition held Friday morning also had more people competing than the fair has seen in the past.
“There were more competitors this year than the year before,” noted Gibson.
“Thought it was kind of fading out but I guess it's not!”
Besides the absence of the Fair Queen competition, the fair went on with only minor bumps and glitches.
“We had no glitches with the carnival people, either," said Gibson. ”It all went very well, very few glitches—it was good.
“It was terribly hot Friday but a lot of people came Friday night, probably more than the year before, and then Saturday, especially later afternoon, there was a pile of people there,” he enthused.