09/29/06 — Livestock arrive for week at county fair

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Livestock arrive for week at county fair

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on September 29, 2006 1:54 PM

It was too early for the crowds, but the grounds of the Wayne Regional Agricultural Fair were by no means quiet Thursday morning as animals of every shape, size and kind began moving in, disturbing those already in their stalls and pens.

But despite the hustle and bustle and the hogs squealing, the goats and sheep bleating, the horses neighing and the cattle mooing, there was at least one quiet spot in a far corner of the livestock barn where a father helped his 4-year-old son water his miniature pony.

"I've got a horse and he's got the pony," said Bill Minchew of Rosewood. "I'll help him go get the feed and keep the pen cleaned out, but he's going to look after Patty Cake this week."

Of course, Minchew said, by the end of the week, the chores could end up being divided more like they are at home.

"Mason likes to ride and watch him, but he isn't much on the work," he said.

But when asked if he was excited about showing his pony this year, Mason answered with a resounding "yes" and stepped inside the pen -- where the pony was the taller of the two.

Around them other families were moving their animals in as well.

Some were fathers and teenage sons -- skipping school like 17-year-old Mark Massey. Others were mothers with young daughters.

"This is a routine," said Massey's father, Alton, as they moved in their miniature ponies. "We've been doing this for about 15 years."

On the other side of the barn, Donna McLamb said that it's this kind of tradition that's the best part of the fair.

"It's a family and friend thing," she said. "Everybody in the horse barn is family or has been good friends for a long time."

Mrs. McLamb, with Second Chance Stables in Dudley, was in the barn Thursday morning caring for the two horses she's showing with her 16-year-old son Jeffrey Loar, as well as three more from Lancaster Farms.

Working alone, it's about an hour-and-a-half chore mucking out and cleaning the stalls and feeding and watering the five horses before leaving for her accountant job at Tax 2000 in Goldsboro.

"We all work," she said. "We come in early in the morning and then leave and we're back between four and five in the afternoon."

But, she continued, the chance to show her horses is well-worth the work.

"You get a lot of kids that come in and a lot of them have never seen a horse, have never seen a cow, and the only time they get to, is when they come to the fair.

"And it's fun, seeing people you haven't seen in a long time. A lot of people you won't see again until next year."