Two 4-Hers found love at the fair

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 12, 2000

Darin Voigt and Rebecca Thompson found love at the Mower County Fair.

Saturday, August 12, 2000

Darin Voigt and Rebecca Thompson found love at the Mower County Fair.

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It happened in Crane Pavilion.

There he was: blue jeans and a T-shirt. Simply irresistible to the young woman.

Little did she know at the time, the young man had noticed her and wanted to get to know her years before.

They came from different worlds: he showed beef cattle and she showed sheep and hogs, but love conquers all.

Today, they are husband and wife and waiting for the end of the Mower County Fair to take a honeymoon.

That’s right. The bride delayed the couple’s wedding trip for one last fling at 4-H competition.

Instead of a romantic interlude at some quiet place, the husband has watched his wife show sheep and hogs.

Ain’t love grand?

Who are these two wild and crazy young people?

Rebecca is the daughter of Scott and Brenda Thompson. She has a younger brother, Adam, who will be a junior this fall at Austin High School.

After graduating Austin High School, she went to work as a floral designer at Emotions in downtown Austin

At the age of 19, she will be "too old" to compete in 4-H after this year and have to give up something that she has pursued for the last 10 years of her life.

Darin, 22, is the son of Dave and Beth Voigt, who farm north of Taopi. He works on the family farm. He has an older brother, Devin, plus a younger sister, Julie, and two younger brothers, Dustin and Dallas.

Four years ago, something happened at a 4-H swine show that would change their lives.

"I was always interested in her, but she didn’t seem to notice me," confessed Darin.

"I saw him. I knew who he was, but he never asked me out," explained Rebecca.

The courtship stalled. "We saw each other on and off, but we never dated,. We were always with other friends," said Rebecca.

Their first date came a year ago, when Darin asked Rebecca to go horseback riding with him on the Voigt family farm.

After that, the pair were inseparable.

Then, Darin proposed to Rebecca on February 12 and she accepted. "I said ‘Yes’ right away," she said. "He’s a great guy and it was a perfect time."

"God has a lot to do with it," said Darin. "He helped us along and the timing was right."

Darin was attracted to Rebecca by her "smile" and "because she is tall," 6:2 to be exact.

Rebecca was attracted to Darin by his "sense of humor and faith."

When it came time to discuss a wedding date, there was some problems. "We wanted a fall wedding, but that’s such a busy time of the year on the farm what with harvest and all, so we had to rule that out," said Darin.

They chose a date in August and that date was Saturday, August 5, at First Lutheran Church in Blooming Prairie, the lutefisk church supper capital of the world each fall.

There were 460 people at the wedding to share the couple’s joyful day.

Both are spiritual people, who value their relationship with God.

Both also value what 4-H has meant to them through the years.

"I was in 4-H for eight years," said Darin. "It was hard work getting a steer ready to show and it was always a learning experience. We, Devin and I, always seemed to win rate of gain champion ribbons, but never showing a steer. I guess the two don’t go together."

"It was a stressful experience getting ready to show the animals before the judge and the crowd and the other kids, but once you did and it was over, the experience really meant something to you," he said.

"I like being with people and look forward still to the County Fair each year," he said.

Rebecca also showed photographs in the non-livestock project competition. This year, another 4-Her has a wedding photo of the couple on display.

She has been a ribbon-winner with plenty of purple and pink champion honors and trophies and plaques as well.

There have been some years when the Thompson family’s brother and sister act would claim the top champion and reserve champion honors particularly in sheep competition, but also the swine show. This year was no exception. Rebecca earned champion sheep show honors and another purple ribbon for senior showmanship in the 4-H Sheep Show.

When the Mower County Fair ends today and the 4-H livestock exhibitors load out their animals, Rebecca will say "Goodbye" to 4-H competition forever. Next year, she will be a spectator in the Crane Pavilion stands watching her brother compete.

What lesson is to be learned in this episode of love at the Mower County Fair?

"If you know it’s right, then don’t let anything get in your way," said Darin.

Rebecca’s smile said she agreed.