09/27/07 — Livestock pens start filling at fairgrounds

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Livestock pens start filling at fairgrounds

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on September 27, 2007 2:05 PM

For 59 years, three generations of the Hood family of Grantham have brought cattle to the Wayne Regional Agricultural Fair.

Wednesday, it was a heifer and her 2-week-old calf. And this year, it was 10-year-old Garrett Hood who prodded and constantly reminded his father, Glenn, and grandfather, James, that it was time to be getting ready for their annual sojourn to the fairgrounds.

"He's the one making sure everybody's ready. He's very excited," said his mother, Betsy. "This is just one of his things."

It's also been one of his grandfather and father's things, too. James served on the committee that helped organize the first fair.

But as the livestock began to trickle into the display barn, his attention was focused on his grandson.

"He's responsible for that cow and calf being out here," the proud grandfather said. "There's not a lazy bone in his body."

And for the next week and a half, Garrett happily acknowledged that it's going to be largely his responsibility to keep the cows fed and watered and the stall cleaned.

"I'll be out here as much as I can when I'm not at school," he said. "I just like people to see different kinds of animals, and I really like my cows. They're fun to come and watch."

Others there Wednesday, as they led their animals into the stalls and made sure they had enough bedding, food and water, also explained that they are motivated by the opportunity to share a little bit of what they do with the rest of Wayne County.

"I just love putting my animals in here so others can experience what they're like, because most people don't live on a farm and don't get to be around these animals every day like I do," said 15-year-old Elizabeth Rowe of Dudley, as she led her six goats out of their trailer and into their pens -- before going to home to return with four more horses.

But the livestock exhibit isn't just for Wayne County's youths.

Ross Head, patriarch of Ross Head Stables in Mount Olive, has enjoyed bringing his popular Brahma cows to the fair for more years than he can remember.

"The spotted ones are more rare than the gray Brahmas. They're a little different," he said. "They're good to cross breed with. They're good beef cattle. And they're good rodeo bulls.

"We just bring a few to the fair because most people haven't seen them. We bring them every year."

And already, it was clear that even for the people setting up education booths or bringing in their crafts and vegetables, the animal barn was still the most popular draw.

"The kids couldn't pass up the animals," Seven Springs resident Penelope Taylor said, watching her children run around the barn after dropping off several crafts.

Despite the fact both Tiffany, 5, and Allison, 2, will be entering their own chickens today, they were much more excited about the prospect of seeing the horses.

"We like the horses because they're pretty," Tiffany said.

For 4-year-old Noah Goroski, though, it was a stall with three goats that provided the most entertainment.

"They keep pushing each other," he said laughing and pointing as the three ran around, head-butting.

Like Mrs. Taylor, his father, Darren Goroski, who was helping set up the Goldsboro Family Y's education booth, also said that they couldn't have left the fairgrounds without taking a walk through the barn.

"Of course we couldn't come here without getting a sneak peek at the animals," the YMCA's senior program director said. "It's neat because we don't live on a farm and the kids don't get to see animals like this every day except on TV or in books."

And with the fair running from 4 p.m. today, until about 10 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 6, plenty of other children will also have that opportunity as more than 100 animals are expected to be on display.

Also tonight, at 5 p.m., will be the vocational competitions, with the Junior Meat Goat Show at 6 p.m. in the Livestock Arena. On Friday, the Junior Market Hog Show will be at 6 p.m. in Livestock Arena, while the Queen of the Fair Pageant will be at 8 p.m. in the Entertainment Arena.

Other attractions, at various times throughout both nights, will be the Magically Medieval Show, the Mills Family Variety Show, ventriloquist Freddie Pierce, pig races, "The Almost Amazing Rex," and the Western Gunfight Show at 8 p.m. In addition, Power's Great American Midway and the Welcome to the Farm exhibit will be open, as will the vintage farm equipment display. The Kids' Club "Discover Agriculture" contest also will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. both nights. On Friday, at 9 p.m., fireworks will be on display.