MINERAL WELLS- The rain held off Thursday evening to allow people to enjoy the West Virginia Interstate Fair and Exposition.
Even with rainfall arriving Thursday afternoon, it moved out of the immediate area by evening to allow events at the fair to proceed as scheduled, including the Junior Beef Showmanship Show and the Junior Beef Show, the Mud Bog and the performance of the Davisson Brothers. Fair officials moved the Davisson Brothers concert from the main stage to a stage underneath a shelter.
Fair officials said attendance has been down due to the weather this week.
Photos by Brett Dunlap
Troy Alton of Parkersburg prepares his steer for the Junior Beef Show Thursday night at the West Virginia Interstate Fair and Exposition.
''That is all a part of having an outdoor venue,'' said Mike Zoller, president of the West Virginia Interstate Fair and Exposition. ''It is something that you just deal with.
''It is a fair and unfortunately Mother Nature has been trying to control us this year.''
Officials are hoping the weather will clear and people will attend the fair today and Saturday, Zoller said.
''The Davisson Brothers (performed Thursday night), we have Hunter Hayes coming (tonight) and the Marshall Tucker Band will be here Saturday night,'' he said. ''We are not in bad shape as far as the grounds go. It is not a mudbath by any means.''
At the livestock barn, the Junior Beef Showmanship Show and the Junior Beef Show proceeded as scheduled with young people showing their cows. It started with the Pee Wee division, kids under 9 years old who are too young for 4-H but are starting to show their animals at the fair for the experience.
''The most important thing at this stage of the game is they are having fun,'' said Adam Hayes, who was judging the animals. ''They are out here trying.''
As the older kids waited their turns, many were cleaning their animals, practicing how to control them in the ring and getting them ready to show.
Troy Alton of Parkersburg was preparing his steer for show. Alton is a member of the Lubeck Lucky Clovers 4-H Club.
Alton has been showing animals for years, including pigs, calves and working his way up to steers.
The judges will be looking for how much finish they have over their ribs, if their feet are turned out and not straight, he said.
Alton shows cattle because it is fun. Participants have a show cattle stick they use to control the animal, make sure its feet are lined up in the front and back and to rub its belly to make sure the animal's back is straight for when the judge is examining it.
Last year, the beef sales were more than $2 a pound with one of the top animals getting $2.40 a pound, people preparing for the show said. The grand champion could get around $3 a pound, one man said.
Cierra Richter of Washington, W.Va., was showing a heifer cow Thursday night. Ritchter is part of the Fairview 4-H Club.
''I am excited to show her and see what place she will get,'' she said.
Control is an important part of showing an animal.
''Sometimes they are stubborn and they won't move,'' Ritchter said. Participants have to practice with their animal a lot to prepare to show it.
''It is hard work,'' she said.
Ritchter is planning to sell her heifer at the sale Saturday.
''Hopefully, I can get a high ranking because she will go for more money,'' she said. ''I will be devastated to see her go.''
The show is a time for family and friends to come out and support one another, said Alex Ritchter of Washington, W.Va., who was showing a Hereford heifer.
''4-Hers feel like a family,'' she said. ''When you show against friends it is like a friendly competition.
''If you lose, you still feel good and you are able to build self confidence from the experience.''
Alex is planning on selling her heifer, but she is hoping the buyer will donate it back to her so she can use it for breeding.
Whitney Galland of Belleville was showing a Limousin steer. She has been showing animals at the fair as part of 4-H.
She does it for the competition and being out with her firends.
''It is mostly the people and friends that do it and it is mostly because of the animals,'' she said. ''Even though we are all friends, we love to compete against each other.
''Whenever we are not showing, we are hanging out together at the campers. We had a water slide over there and we have been playing cards. We have fun for the week.''
Galland is hoping to make a good sale Saturday off of her steer.
''I am hoping to get a big chunk of money out of him for college,'' she said.