At the Madison County Fair, community members have the opportunity to participate in or watch rodeos, horse shows, barrel racing, horse pulls and more.
One of the biggest parts of the fair is the 4-H and FFA programs. 4-H is a nationwide program that provides experiences for kids in areas such as health, science, agriculture and citizenship.
FFA is a student organization for those interested in agriculture and leadership.
Youth ages 5 to 18 have the chance to raise livestock and animals for the fair every year. This year, 4-H and FFA members participated in rabbit, poultry, market swine, market sheep, goat, beef and dairy shows.
Depending on which project a 4-H or FFA participant chooses, the time when they start on their project varies. Livestock, for example, would begin in the fall or winter after the participant buys their animal. They then feed, train and take care of the animal through the end of the fair.
Shalani Wilcox, an officer for FFA, bought her steer in January. She explained that she gives the steer feed and walks it around to get it ready for the fair. Wilcox says the goals is to win, but overall, she wants to have a steer that’s market-ready that buyers will want to purchase.
Last year, Wilcox’s steer won in the category of carcass quality. This means the meat the steer had was the best quality of all other steer at the fair.
At the end of fair, there’s a livestock sale. Local businesses, fair goers and others can support 4-H members by purchasing their livestock. The money raised by selling livestock can go towards buying another animal for the fair next year, or it can be used to the discretion of the participant.
Lydia Oliphant raised a sheep for the fair this year and said she wants to save the money she raises to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
4-H aims to promote youth development. Oliphant said one of the skills she gained form raising her sheep was patience.
“I was bad at being patient before… it’s not my best but I’m getting there,” she said.
Kandee Boice is the Madison County 4-H program coordinator. She works for the county through the University of Idaho and does all of the programming for 4-H in the county.
“The best part of my job is to see the success of the kids,” Boice said.
While 4-H is a large part of the fair, there are other events there that everyone can enjoy.
The Madison County Fair happened August 15 through August 18.
For more information about this year’s fair or future events, visit madisonfairgrounds.com, email them at MadisonFairgrounds@gmail.com or call 208-317-2238.