For many people the fair means carnival rides and eating a funnel cake. However, at the Washington County Fair and many fairs around Idaho it is all about tradition, traditions of raising top quality livestock and the community gathering to celebrate the joys of rural, agricultural America. Instead of finding a ring toss or another carnival game throughout the venue you will find barns filled with FFA and 4-H members who are dedicated to the success of their project, learning lessons of humility, citizenship, and the vitality of agriculture in Idaho.
While our world may seem to be changing in the blink of an eye, FFA members across the State of Idaho are continuing traditions and putting in countless hours of hard work that are finally coming to fruition after a season of growth and diligence. Most people think of summer as carefree and freedom from responsibilities, but these young individuals spend hours working with their FFA livestock SAE projects to perfect their showmanship skills and train an animal with free will to cooperate in the blistering heat in front of crowds of people.
“Being in FFA and participating in the fair is not just about the animals, showing them and going to competitions. It is about making new friends along the way. I have learned that if I put my mind to things that seem tough, I can do it with a little determination,” said Wesley Barton, from the Midvale FFA Chapter.
Wesley and his lamb have worked together to create a partnership. Wesley has muscular dystrophy and uses a wheelchair, but this does not hinder his love for livestock and desire to show. Wesley dedicates a lot of time and energy to working with his lamb. Throughout the spring and summer they build a bond of friendship and trust. Wesley trains his lambs to lead and brace by putting their front feet up on the platform on his wheelchair.
“My road may be longer, but the journey is worth it.”
Wesley and so many other FFA members at county fairs across our great state and nation are truly what FFA and life is about. They strive for premier leadership, personal growth, and career success. They also possess qualities of honesty, integrity, kindness, and are dedicated to giving back to their communities.
If you are wanting to support the future leaders of our world and young people advocating for agriculture, we urge you to go to a county fair and walk through the barns, buy an animal from the fair that will provide you with quality nutrients, sign up to be a volunteer, or get plugged in with your local FFA Chapter. Not only will you be supporting these members, but you also will be supporting the local economy, community, and lifelong traditions in the great State of Idaho.