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Grant County Fair has weather with it
Past week's annual event stays dry, looks to fulfill pull shortfall
Shawn Jahnke from Fennimore looks for the perfect dismount from a sheep during the mutton bustin' event Thursday at the Grant County Fair.

    “The weather stayed with us.”

    Those were the words of Fair Manager Amy Olson. Despite forecasts that called for rain at some point every day during the run, the Grant County Fair was dry, leading to a near repeat of the turnout it had a year ago.

    Only a few hiccups, like a shortened tractor pull Friday night, a misunderstanding on prices for Wednesday nights stock car races, and a smaller crowd for the family night event, marred an otherwise well-received fair.

    For the fair, the grand total of those visiting the fairgrounds was 24,223, a slight downturn from the 24,518 that attended events a year ago.

    At the grandstands, attendance was up overall, to 5,768 people, despite two nights seeing downturns.

    On Thursday night, it was family night in the grandstand, with the annual mutton bustin’ catch a calf and bed races event. Only 378 people attended the night, compared to 721 last year. Olson said that the fair board would rethink the list of events for the evening, kicking around different ideas for 2015.

    The Friday evening Tri-State tractor pull had slightly lower numbers, but the bigger issue was multiple breakdowns of the pull sled which shortened the night. Olson said that the group had no other breakdowns this summer season, but after the fourth stoppage, they knew they would not be able to continue.

    To make up for this early night, a free pull will be held at the fairgrounds on Sept. 14, starting at noon. Olson said anyone will be able to attend, not just those with tickets from that night.

    Because of the breakdown, Olson said she heard a number of individuals stayed away from the local pull, in fear of another breakdown. Both pulls use different sleds, and have for years.

Olson said yet to be worked out was why the price was different, $12 versus $10, on the ticket price for the Wednesday races.

    Meanwhile at the livestock auction, proceeds totaled 183,048 on the animals sold.

    The average barrow sold for $3.66 a pound. Average poultry prices were $182, while steers averaged $1.99 a pound. Lambs went for $4.92 a pound, while goats went for $5.21 a pound.

    The average rabbit sold for $209.38, while the average dairy cheese went for $658.33.

    For steers, Mason Crooks, Lancaster, sold his reserve -champion to Gassers for $2.40 a pound, a price matched by two other sellers that day.

    For the Grand Champion lamb, Myles Wehrle sold his animal to Retallick Farms for $4.25 a pound.

    Meanwhile, the grand champion goat, shown by Weston Linneman, Fennimore went to Gardiner Appraisal for $7.75 a pound.

    Alicia Brisbois, Boscobel, kept her string of grand champion turkeys in tact, selling it for $200 to Les Mack.

    Lena Frank sold her grand rabbit Hi-Way Feed for $225.

    On barrows, the grand champion was eclipsed not only by the reserve, but also four others. Trinity Spurley, Fennimore, received $2.50 a pound from Reddy Ag. That was followed by the reserve champion, shown by Lance Vosberg, Cuba City, which took home $4.50 a pound from Livingston State Bank.

    Four others - Brian Neumeister (Digman Construction), Brandon Weigel (Mound City Bank), Jarren Crapp (Reddy Ag), and Zach Ingersoll (Steinhart Equipment) each took home $5 a pound.

County Board Chairman Bob Keeney announced at the county board meeting Tuesday a letter of appreciation from the Hills and Dales chapter about how well they were treated Friday during the Senior Day events, even having the County Fair's food stand feeding them before they left the grounds.