Wednesday, August 02, 2000

Hamilton Co. fair under way

Youngsters dream of blue ribbons

By Jenny Callison
Enquirer Contributor

        This week, Hamilton County's field of dreams isn't Cinergy Field. It's the big red barn at the county fairgrounds in Carthage, where youngsters will show off their livestock entries for a chance at a blue ribbon.

[photo] Kathy Gratsch of Fiarfax poses with her rooster Bambino in a barn at the Hamilton County Fairgrounds.
(Brandi Stafford photo)
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        With hopes riding high on their animals, dozens of participants arrived Tuesday at the fairgrounds in time to be settled and groomed before today's Hamilton County Fair opening.

        Pigs, goats, lambs and cattle nosed around their new space and eyed the competition. Restless roosters strutted and serenaded.

        In the cattle barn, Bill Schwegmann and stepsons Andy, Ryan, Chris and Cody Burger prepared the stalls for their Black Angus contenders. Andy, 15, applied the knowledge he gained by helping livestock exhibitors during July's Butler County Fair.

        “We're trying to make it as professional looking as possible,” Mr. Schwegmann said.

        Beef breeding is a hobby for this Colerain Township family, although Andy works part time at a farm in Butler County's Ross Township.

        “Farming's just too difficult and not enough money,” said Mr. Schwegmann, who works as a welder and helps his stepsons with their livestock projects.

        Rock Grogan of Price Hill dreams of the day he'll have enough cattle to farm full time. He and his children pasture their lambs and registered Angus and Polled Herefords in Butler, Ky. He welcomed the chance to mingle with other livestock breeders from the area.

        “Sometimes Hamilton County wants to forget they've got agricultural land to deal with,” he said.

        But farm animals are a growing interest among the young, according to Susan Hamond of West Harrison.

        “I guess 4-H is taking off again,” she said. “There is more beef and a lot more pigs this year. Almost all of them are youth projects.”

        Her son, Tim, 10, is pinning his hopes on “Lady Leah,” one of his Murray Grey heifers, raised on his grandparents' farm in Harrison.

        “She's long. Judges like length,” Tim said.

        Live action isn't limited to the animals. The fair has scheduled a series of heavy metal events including a demolition derby, a figure-eight race, compact rollover contest and mini-car derby. Capping off the grandstand all-motor attractions will be Saturday's “Night of Fire and Destruction” monster truck show.


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