Column: 4-H, cow-milking and false arrest made fair memorable

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 17, 2000

Is it over yet?.

Thursday, August 17, 2000

Is it over yet?

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The Mower County Fair, I mean.

Is it safe to move around without another picture to be taken?

Wow! Whatta week it was.

Mower County has the best 4-H programming anywhere, and to see how the Mower County Extension Service conducts the annual County Fair competitions and exhibitions is to see professionals at work.

And all those adult leaders who assist are terrific.

When you add the week-ending 4-H Market Livestock Ribbon Auction, you’ve got the very best examples of country life anywhere.

Every business, club, organization, church and individual who donated money to the ribbon auction can feel good.

To raise $33,175 with one event on a Saturday morning in Crane Pavilion was amazing.

Of course, there were a few complications last week.

For instance, somebody got their rocks off.

True story. Ralph Waters called me to say somebody dumped a load of rocks along Turtle Creek on the Mower County side of the road.

He wanted me to go out there, take a picture and put it in the paper.

As fate would have it, I saw Mr. Waters twice at the County Fair and each time he was still upset about the rocks dumped by some jerk.

Because all rocks look alike, it is unlikely that anybody who sees a picture of them in the paper will recognize them and rush down to the Mower County Sheriff and confess the crime.

So, the best I can do is make a plea to the public: if you saw this crime committed, call the sheriff immediately.

Unfortunately, my Mower County Fair memories are clouded by an ugly incident that occurred last Sunday afternoon.

Gene Block, a member of the Sheriff’s Mounted Posse security patrol at the fairgrounds arrested me. Slapped the handcuffs on me and led me away, saying I was being charged with cruelty to animals when I tried to milk Cristy Sathre’s champion Holstein, Hannah.

Nice guy that Mr. Block can be, he released me on my own recognizance after I promised to supply him with donuts at the next county fair.

But the humiliation cut deep. My granddaughter, the one we call Peanut, was there to witness the arrest.

Never again will I accept Lynn Sathre’s invitation to be in a cow-milking contest. He said it was to help promote the Mower County dairy producers and that he was giving me a second chance after finishing sixth in a field of six at the June Dairy Days in Adams earlier this summer.

When Austin mayor Bonnie Rietz entered the contest, I was sure I could at least beat her.

When Dan Ruiter, KAAL Region 6 news personality entered, I knew I could beat the both of them.

All I had to do was beat Amanda Rice, the county’s dairy princess, and her attendant, Bethany Read.

All week long, I sought out the experts for advice, so when Sunday afternoon came, I was ready.

I don’t know how it happened, but somebody slipped a water bottle into the pocket of a jacket I was wearing. The bottle was filled with milk.

Doesn’t everybody take a water bottle full of milk to the county fair?

Mayor Rietz, insecure as she obviously was, removed the bottle of milk from my jacket before the contest, saying I was going to cheat.

Shoot! It was chocolate milk and everybody knows only Brown Swiss cows give chocolate milk, and we had a Holstein that day.

Besides, doesn’t everybody take a water bottle full of milk to the Mower County Fair?

After I failed to win the contest, my granddaughter, Peanut, and I went for a ride on the Ferris wheel.

When we got to the top and waited for them to load more customers down below, I told her, "Don’t ever marry a dairy farmer, young lady. In fact, don’t marry anyone from Adams."

She looked up at me with a quizzical look on her face and asked, "Was it fun being arrested at the county fair?"