County Fair Teaches Responsibility
Six years ago, McConnellsburg area resident Brock Hohman entered his very first animal in the Fulton County Fair. It was at the urging of his childhood friend, Ashlyn Buterbaugh, the then 13- year-old was prompted to raise and enter several head of purebred Fleming giant rabbits.
Modest, saying only that he did “very well” for his first showing, Hohman’s sandy doe actually took home top honors as 2007 Best of how. Now 19, the 2012 Forbes Road High School graduate’s devotion to fair life and the agriculture industry is as strong as ever.
On Sunday, August 11, this year’s 93rd annual county fair will get under way in McConnellsburg, promising a weeklong schedule of good food, animal shows, entertainment and fellowship.
Taking in the goings-on from his camper located on the fairgrounds, Hohman is looking forward to tackling his daily tasks of cleaning pens, washing animals, clipping, feeding and practicing for the upcoming shows.
“My goals for this year’s fair are to meet as many new people as possible and to introduce some new livestock,” said Hohman, who will be entering the breeding meat goat show along with the market lamb, goat and pig shows. “I want to strive to get grand-champion lamb and market hogs, which are both tough competitions.”
With over a week remaining until the fair opens its gates for the much-anticipated crowning of fair queen and influx of livestock, Hohman continues to work daily with his animals in the hope his hard work will bring home the coveted title of grand champion.
“It takes hours of preparation at home as well as at the show. You have to have your animals conditioned just right to be competitive, and you must bathe, feed and water animals on a daily basis, brush and even clip before the show to have them look just right,” he said, adding that his favorite part of the pre-fair routine is breaking the animals to lead and set up as well as clipping and fitting for show.
Of course, Hohman doesn’t just limit his involvement at the fairgrounds on Lincoln Way East to his own animals. Always willing to lend a hand to other exhibitors, he gets great enjoyment helping other youths clip their animals ranging from lambs to pigs.
“Experiencing the fair is amazing from all the parents to the kids, who just lend a helping hand any time you need it ... . I believe people should become involved in the annual county fair because it teaches youths responsibility and sportsmanship through ownership of an animal.”
While he touts Buterbaugh and her grandmother, Jane Doney, for getting him involved in the 4-H process, Hohman said his passion for animals and the ag industry dates back to when he was a small child.
“I’d always go past local dairy farms and just be amazed by those beautiful animals, which also sparked my passion for the dairy industry,” said Hohman. He milked his first cow at the Harrisonville area farm of Curtis and Donna Brant, spending the wee hours of the morning milking and getting his first real taste of the life of a farmer.
Even though he only milked a handful of times, that firsthand experience clearly influenced his decision to work in the ag industry. He currently works at the Franklin Hog Farm, a 3,900 farrowing sow operation.
Hohman recently started his own registered herd of boer goats and took two to a show in Kearneysville, W.Va., along with a market lamb. He reported it was tough competition, but the lamb brought third out of a class of 11.
“I enjoyed every minute of the show where I met new people and made some new friends,” he stated.
Meanwhile, he’s looking forward to rekindling some friendships at this year’s fair. “My favorite part is seeing all of my friends and the livestock that are exhibited. My least favorite part is having to pack up and leave knowing the fair won’t be there for another year,” Hohman said.