The Platte County Fair Family

Weekly Opinion Editorial by Mark DeLap

Opinion Editorial

It’s like a giant family reunion that happens every summer. Many come to visit and stay for a while, but the immediate family is something special.

The ones who spend months preparing and getting the word out. The ones who plan the activities, find new ways to bring excitement to the 10-day event and ensure that some of the favorite things from fairs past will recur and become popular traditions.

And as it is with many family reunions, the ones who hold it or plan it or set it up are many times so inundated with the work at hand, that they don’t get the quality time to just sit and enjoy the show.

It would be hard to mention all the names; to shed light on their work, not to mention the fact that these people are content to be out of the limelight – perfectly content to make sure things run smoothly, making sure people are having a great time and that the needs of all who visit are taken care of.

At this year’s fair, it was evident that much planning and effort brought it together for the week-plus venue. The flowers were blooming in pots. The grass was mowed. The parking areas were clean and free of debris. There was not one candy bar wrapper flying in the breeze. The barns smelled like sweet cedar. Huge coolers were filled with cold bottled water.

These things don’t happen magically. They don’t just appear on the opening morning of the fair. It was the immediate Platte County Fair family that rolled up their sleeves for months and began to build everyone a memorable time.

Every family is not without its struggles… and unforeseen things crop up that couldn’t be planned for. Such as 103 degrees in  show ring, gale size wind and a severe soaking, pig wrestling buckets breaking and rogue animals gone wild.

That’s when the strength and character get tested and in severe heat and circumstance, family tempers may flare a bit. But. It’s family. It’s what families do. And they get through it.

The tragedies that are unforeseen that come really show the grit and determination of the Wyoming spirit. Especially in our Platte County Teens who really are born to a pioneer spirit and hearty stock. A young Wheatland girl was showing her 1385-pound steer in the show arena last week.

Inadvertently something spooked the animal and it sidestepped and planted all of its weight on Madison McIntosh’s foot. Being the trooper she is, she continued to show the steer in tears and pain. And then showed another… and another.

She “finally got around” to going to the doctor and they found that the animal had fractured the growth plate in her foot and according to Madison, “Yeah, they are going to operate after the fair – I guess the bone is just floating around in there.”

She was then seen that night standing next to another classmate who had been showing her animals while on a crutch all week. They were in the serving line at the free junior livestock BBQ. One dishing watermelon, the other pickles.

So, “Pickles and Watermelon” finished out the week in pain, but determined that nobody could keep them from their fair.

That’s the spirit at fair week. It leaves everlasting fingerprints on your soul. That’s the spirit of the kids from FFA and 4-H. They give everything they’ve got. So the family gives them a fair.

For most of those who work the fair to make it memorable, thank you. We know you can’t sit and enjoy it like everyone else. We know that you take your responsibilities seriously to the tradition that IS the Platte County Fair and to the organizations it celebrates.

It’s magical. Only because it has magical people working it. OK. Maybe not magical. Just ordinary people who do an extraordinary job, who go above and beyond the call of duty and who sow themselves every year into a community that we all love.

To all of you who sit just inches out of the limelight, you are incredible. And what a family reunion we had in 2022.

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