At home at the county fair

Published 9:54 am Thursday, August 13, 2009

Let’s get this straight: There is no Wally The Fart Talking Dog at the 2009 Mower County Fair this week in Austin.

That was a joke I wrote in last week’s column. I apologize if I offended anyone.

If you go to the Mower County Fair, expecting to see or hear a dog who communicates by expelling gaseous hydrocarbons, you won’t find any.

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If hot air is your shtick, attend an Austin City Council meeting.

Now on to the historic Mower County Fair: The 125th milestone event of its kind.

Dan Morem was honored Tuesday as 2009 Fair Person of the Year. Dan was credited for spending 16 years in the saddle as the head of the Mower County Sheriff’s Mounted Posse. Why he never came down off the horse, nobody knows.

Other 2009 Pride of Mower County award winners included:  Bill and Marlys Janssen were inducted into the Livestock Hall of Fame, Lorraine Westphal and John Beckel were named outstanding senior volunteers, plus other recipients were honored at Fair Square Tuesday night.

Since I retied as a full-time reporter for the world’s greatest community newspaper, my role at the county fair has been reduced and not a moment too soon.

Leave it to a group of overly sensitive Fair Board directors — Neal Anderson, Larry Rasch and Scott Felten were the ringleaders, my sources tell me — who tired of my constant efforts at poking fun at them.

Personally, I thought my idea of making Pin The Tail On The Fair Board Director a grandstand event would be a huge crowd-pleaser.

God only knows it would be hard to miss the target.

Of course, the Tractor Pull folks had something to do with the restrictions placed on my presence at the county fair this week

Apparently, Joe and Kim Schechinger and Gary and Cindy Ziegler bowed to pressure from disgruntled pullers, who were jealous at being upstaged by a semi-blind senior citizen at the Tractor Pull each Friday night at the county fair.

Before I retired at the top of my pulling game it was so sad to see Dale Bissen and his Fordson friends cry in despair as I roared down the track on an Oliver hijacked from the Zieglers while my grandchildren yelled, “That ain’t our Grandpa!”

It’s been harder this week to move around than ever before. I know Gene Block and the Sheriff’s Mounted Posse have me under surveillance.

A horse-mounted deputy tried to follow me into the 4-H building Wednesday before being turned away by angry 4-H ambassadors.

Once again, it’s a case of a lack of a sense of humor.

Personally, I thought it was a clever joke, when I asked Lloyd Amick, “How do you tell a sheriff’s mounted deputy from a horse’s ass?” And he replied, “I don’t know,” and I said, “Me neither.”

Burying my bike under horses’ apples wasn’t funny.

Still, the fair is its usual great Mower County get-together. It’s good to see the 4-Hers compete and watch their families cheer them.

Ron Osmon and the groundskeeping crew have the fairgrounds in tip-top shape.

I don’t need to see Them Adam’s Folks prowling the Plager building lining up to collect free stuff for stocking stuffer gifts for their grandchildren next Christmas. I can hear their court-ordered ankle bracelets jangling.

If you believe people are still the most interesting creation, the Mower County Fair is the place to go this weekend.

I have written often about the county fair. So much so that I decided I should be paid. I stopped by the fair office this morning, where the fair board directors were having their daily meeting and “I can eat more donuts than you can” contest.

During a brief scuffle over the last sprinkled chocolate donut, I asked office manager Karen Wolff, “After all these entirely truthful, highly complimentary, sophisticated stories, shouldn’t I get paid?”

Karen turned to Millie Weness and said, “Call security and order a lockdown. We’ve got a lunatic on the loose.”

What a kidder she is.

Don’t forget the 4-H Ribbon Auction Saturday morning in Crane Pavilion. It’s everyone’s opportunity to invest in the best youth program anywhere.

Oh, yes … save some money for the Mower County Commissioners, who have a food stand at this year’s county fair. They are trying to raise money to pay for the new Mower County Jail and Justice Center. Try their felony fritters and misdemeanor wieners.