4-H Leader Expresses Concerns about Wyoming’s Big Show

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Local 4-H leaders say issues at the fairgrounds have led to declining participation numbers.

ROCK SPRINGS — Public requests for a more visible 4-H presence at the Sweetwater County Fair may well depend upon the ability and willingness of 4-H leaders and members themselves.

That was the sentiment of Fair Board member Mark Torgersen at the board’s monthly meeting in August. This month, 11-year-old Mary Hamilton shared some other thoughts about those requests.

Hamilton, the local 4-H treasurer, said there was less involvement on the part of 4-H parents at the fair, thus increasing responsibilities for 4-H leaders.

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Hamilton listed several items she felt the Sweetwater Events Complex, and Executive Director Larry Lloyd in particular, could do to facilitate 4-H activities at Wyoming’s Big Show.

Reliable electricity at the beef barn was one safety concern. Hamilton said one circuit breaker was especially troublesome with sparking. She said she brought her own generator to ensure reliable electricity for 4-H’ers. Electric sparks at the pig barn were another safety concern.

Hamilton conveyed other concerns including set up in the pig barn.

Because of these and other problem, parental involvement and 4-H numbers in general were down this year resulting in far less visibility by the group, said Hamilton.

Torgersen was absent from the Tuesday meeting, but Lloyd had plenty to say.

Lloyd answers

Lloyd’s took exception to much of what Hamilton said at the meeting. The number of 4-H participants at this year’s fair was actually up according to his estimates. He said economics has an effect on some 4-H activities such as livestock.

Participation in the 4-H beef program, for example, had been less during years when beef prices were down, and higher when beef prices went up.

As for the electrical circuit breaker problem, Lloyd said, “That’s the first I’ve heard of it.”

The Events Complex has an electrician available to deal with any problems, and if there had been a serious problem Maintenance Coordinator Drew Dunn certainly would have taken care of it, Lloyd said.

The entire electrical circuit system was upgraded two or three years ago, with no complaints until the meeting this week, he added.

As for the 4-H livestock participation economic argument, Hamilton said, “Not everyone is doing it because of the sale. They’re doing it because of the learning experience. 4-H at the fair is the fair. That’s what people out in the public tell me.”

Lloyd reiterated that he had not heard of the electrical problem at the beef barn prior to this meeting. He did however say he would look into the issue.

During the meeting, Hamilton suggested a subcommittee of board members and 4-H leaders to promote communication.