Volunteers make the fair possible

July 31, 2018

MITCHELL – When the livestock shows at the Scotts Bluff County Fair run smoothly, it’s due to lots of behind the scenes volunteer work to make them possible.

Ty Marker and Todd Neu are this year’s Barn Bosses who oversee the entire operation.

“We oversee all the superintendents for all the species in the shows and mediate any disputes or other problems that may come up,” Marker said. “I’m in my first year of a three-year term and we have lots of meetings throughout the year to get ready for the fair.”

Marker said they’re very fortunate to have an excellent, hardworking staff and volunteers that keep returning every year to make the shows possible.

“It always seems that every year we have a weather challenge thrown at us for the fair,” Marker said. “Rain gets blown into the barn and we have to get it dried out before the show. “The show barn flooded over the weekend, so that seems to be one of our bigger challenges.”

After making sure all the competitors had the equipment they needed as they prepared to show their animals, Marker spent some time in the barn visiting with local 4-H families.

“I love working with all the people and with the kids,” he said. I love animals so it’s fun to see the kids working on their projects. Success is our goal. We want everyone to come here and have a good experience.”

That joy has rubbed off on his daughter, Lizbeth. She showed pigs on Monday and will be back Thursday and Friday for market steers.

“Last year we had three species and only two this year,” Marker said. “We actually get Wednesday off, so that’s kind of nice.”

Ashley Shultz is the head superintendent for the swine division. They’re responsible for making sure the arena is set up for the show, and arrange for volunteers to handle animal weigh-ins and other duties.

“We meet throughout the year to make sure the show runs as smoothly as possible,” she said. “I also need to stay in contact with all my volunteers so we have people to handle all the duties that go along with the event. We usually have about 15 people to make the show possible.”

She said the swine shows have been running smoothly. The only problem happened Sunday night when rain soaked all the sawdust in the ring, which had to be replaced before the first show on Monday morning.

Shultz said she started showing 4-H livestock when she was 8 and has been involved in the program for more than 20 years.

“We’re all about the kids and helping them along the way,” she said. “That’s why I volunteer.”

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