By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
‘Everyone has a Fair story’ contest winners
Everyone has a. Fair story
SUE KLEMA (center) of the North Clayton Cardinal 4-H Club was the Grand Champion winner of the first annual ‘Everyone has a fair story’ competition. On hand to help her celebrate were, from left, Fair Board member Wayne Jerrett Jr., County Board Supervisor Don Olson, husband Arnie Klema, outgoing Fair Coordinator Amanda Griswold, and County Board Supervisor Wade Dull.

CRAWFORD COUNTY - New at the 161st Crawford County Fair was the ‘Every Person Has a Fair Story Contest.’  This contest was adopted from the Wisconsin Fair Association Contest also called ‘Every Person Has a Fair Story Contest.’

Entrants were asked to share their fair story in 200-400 words. The Grand Champion receiv $50 and a certificate; Reserve Grand Champion receiv $25 and a certificate.  The winners were announced at Crawford County Fair during the Land Conservation Awards Celebration on Thursday, August 22 at 6 p.m.

The Grand Champion, Reserve Grand Champion, and three other stories entered are as follows:

Grand Champion

Glory in the showring


I grew up showing Holstein cattle at the Crawford County fair, so when my husband, Arnie, brought home a Jersey cow from the UW-Platteville sale, I didn't know what to think. Who would have thought that I would fall for this lovely breed? We have had the pleasure of being in the presence of many of these amazing animals with the beautiful eyes and gentle souls.

After four years and four more Jersey cow purchases, Gloss finally blessed us with our first heifer calf, Glory. Being short of pen room, we raised Glory in a corner of the manger until she was weaned.

We recruited our neighbor girl, Samantha, to show this cute spring calf. Although Sammy had never shown a calf before, she was a natural and so was Glory. They made the perfect team.

That year Marlowe Nelson was the dairy judge. Sammy with her great smile showing our stylish Glory made a big impression. Glory won the class, was named junior champion of the Jersey show and went on to win the supreme junior champion of all breeds that day. Marlowe made the comment that he could tell that Sammy was having fun and that is what showing dairy cattle should be about.

We sold our cows five years ago but we continue to buy show animals. We still encourage young people to show our cattle at the fair. We hope to give the youth of our county the same opportunities we had to enjoy showing dairy cattle as much as we have over the last fifty years.

Reserve Grand Champion

“Building Fair Memories throughout the Years”



Fair time a highly anticipated event with lots of planning, preparation, and persistence. It marks the culmination of summer and months of hard work. The fair is full of contradictions: busy yet relaxing, hard work yet fun-filled, and challenging yet rewarding.

As a toddler, I watched my older brothers and sister bathe and comb and trim steers for the show ring and sale ring. When I was old enough, I was participating in showing smaller fare: rabbits, chickens, dogs, sheep, and horse. I would spend countless hours working with my livestock to look and behave their best in the show ring. I would try a variety of projects with varying degrees of success like woodworking, photo collages, plants, and baking. I tried to do as many entries as I could handle to secure those precious blue ribbons and payouts.

It wasn't all glitz and glamour as taking care of the animals, especially in the heat, was hard. I have the scars to show that my rabbit got spooked during the presentation. Numerous times my sheep would drag me around the ring. It was embarrassing and seemed to happen each year, no matter how much prep work I had done with them. There was also stinging disappointment when an entry I have given my best effort didn't earn a blue ribbon. Then, there was the bittersweet sale ring where you wanted to get top dollar for the animal you have worked so hard with to be sold for slaughter. John Kramer, the auctioneer, would talk me up to get higher bidding even though he had seemed me earlier wrangling my uncooperative lamb.

Today, I go to the fair with my family to see the animals, projects, and shows. We walk through the project buildings to see the creative entries appreciating their efforts and maybe finding some inspiration. We may do a few rides, play some games, and indulge ourselves with a special treat like a deep-fried Snickers. Three years ago, the kids won four goldfish playing ring toss, and we still have one pet today. This year I have some entries in the fair, so I guess you’re never too old to share your projects.

Keep building memories at the fair and best of success to all the entries this year, and in the future, you are learning some valuable life skills.

Every person has 

a fair story”


I grew up in Steuben and belonged to a 4-H club there.  I started showing at the fair when I was 12 years old. I showed a Guernsey heifer.  I showed for 3 or 4 more years.  One time I showed a Holstein bull that we bought in Boscobel.  

I attended the Crawford County Fair every year until I moved to Grant County for 10 years.  I moved my family to Crawford County in 1956.  My wife Eunice and I started a 4-H club on North Clayton Ridge named North Clayton Cardinals, which is still in existence today under the direction of my two daughters, Margaret Davidson and Sue Klema.  

The previous club named North Clayton Indians had been inactive for a few years.  My wife and I were 4-H leaders for 28 years.  I served on the fair board for 22 years. 

The fair has changed a lot since I was a kid.  I used to go to the fair with $5 and come home with $2.  Some of the changes while I was on the board was the new show barn, new grandstand, purchasing additional land for parking and being able to enter some project on Wednesday evening.  

My favorite event of the fair is the tractor pull.  I have enjoyed pulling my Farmall 460 for many years at the fair.

Every person 

has a fair story


I enrolled in 4-H when I was 10 years old. My parents started a club called North Clayton Cardinals which is existence still today.  My sister and I are the leaders.  I have been a leader for 39 years.

When I was young, we did not see our friends much during the summer except for church and 4-H events.  We loved to play softball against the other clubs.  The fair was the culmination of our year with a play-off game. I participated in many projects over the years among them dairy, sewing, foods, canning, gardening and home furnishings.  Dairy was my biggest project with my family sometimes showing as many as 30 head of cattle.  I was the first girl to be able to show a bull at the fair.

Some of my memories of the fair include the time Victor Achenbach threw me in the manure spreader.  There was not the nice cement manure holding areas then, just a manure spreader out the back of the barn.  One year our club had to have cattle in the bull barn and it rained and the water ran right down the middle of the barn.  Water fights at the wash rack were also, fun especially on a hot day. Before the cattle show barn was built, we had to show inside a snow fence outside in the heat.  Waking up early to go to the fairgrounds to wash our animals was a big deal.  One of the first dates I had with my husband, Tom, was at the Crawford County Fair.

I have been exhibiting for 60 years at the Crawford County Fair.  I love to see all the exhibits and the fine products that exhibitors bring.  My children have all been exhibitors at the fair and now my grandchildren show in the Farmer Bud and Porky Pig contests at The Crawford County Fair has been a long standing tradition for our family.

The Crawford County Fair gave me my first job


As a child, I always enjoyed the carnival. From the Bumper Cars, to the Tilt-a-Whirl, to the Ferris Wheel, the carnival was my favorite part of the Fair.

I came from a single-parent family, and finances were always strained. Dad is a Vietnam veteran, and his VA disability benefits were our only source of income, at $500 per month. Dad made many sacrifices so that my sister and I could have a stable home. However, every year, he would always buy wristbands for us, so we could gain the maximum enjoyment of the rides.

After I graduated high school, I entered the US Air Force. However, I was unable to graduate from basic training, as I started having suicidal thoughts.

Later that summer, the Fair came to town, and with it, the carnival, Mr. Ed's Magical Midways. Since I always enjoyed the carnival, I thought it would be a fun place to work! I asked if I could work during set-up and tear-down. They replied, "Can you travel?" I asked what they meant. They told me that they travel to various fairs, shows, etc., and they wanted someone to travel with them. I said yes.

So over the course of the next few months, I traveled with the carnival. After finishing, I used my earnings to buy my first vehicle, a 1977 Chevrolet C-10 Scottsdale. And it was all possible because of the Crawford County Fair!