By MIKE FERGUSON
Of the Baker City Herald
Competition at the 64th Annual Baker County Fair ran the gamut from cuddly bunnies to noisy, fiery automobile wrecks.
Clearly, this fair had something to satisfy nearly every curiosity.
The competitive events opened Wednesday with an open class rabbit show and concluded Saturday evening with a contest about as far removed from a cage full of quiet rabbits as can be imagined.
A first-ever demolition derby, sponsored by Thunder Mountain Motorsports and attended by an overflow crowd, put a noisy and exciting exclamation point on what fair manager Bonnie White called the most fun you can have in Baker County on just one dollar per day.
During her first year as fair manager, White helped introduce a range of less-than-serious competitions designed, she said, to allow people to attend the fair on multiple days. Some contests reflected the fairs theme, Chick us out. One, the chicken dancing contest held Friday night, stood out in Whites mind.
They had standing room only for that one, she said Saturday as she endured endless questions while trying to enjoy her food at the buyers barbeque. Ive never seen such an electrified crowd.
If dancing like a chicken was beneath your dignity, perhaps drinking milk so fast that it comes out your nose was more your cup of tea. Other far-from-dignified contests included watermelon seed spitting, rubber chicken tossing and tractor pedaling.
Fair board member John Leonard said he spent much of his time at the fair taking tickets, but liked what he saw when he had time to take in the attractions.
Bonnie introduced a bunch of things that I had never seen before, he said. There were a lot of things going on in there. I was pretty impressed.
Something for everybody and, oh yes, they held a livestock sale, too.
In all, 177 head were auctioned during the 4-H/FFA Livestock Show, held Saturday afternoon.
Leading off the long parade was Lindsey Kuehls 246-pound Grand Champion Yorkshire pig. Kuehl earned $3 per pound from the successful bidder, Guyer, Lindley, Bailey andamp; Martin.
Deli, as Kuehl dubbed the pig when she purchased him at six weeks, is grumpy sometimes, but overall, hes not a bad pig, she said, moments after Delis market fate had been sealed.
Kuehl said her secret for raising a grand champion is to concentrate more on the front end than the back end.
Buying good genes is a good idea, the 12-year-old said. I really havent made him work much, except that he had to take his meals standing up.
She said she was a little sad to see Deli go, but that a check of more than $700 would help ease the pain. She planned to save half her earnings for college and splurge on school clothes with the other half.
Kuehl and her fellow 4-H and FFA club members ended up pocketing $101,913.30 as a result of the livestock auction, according to OSU Extension Secretary Deb Riggs.
The 61 hogs were sold for $29,879.45. At an average weight of 246.05 pounds, hogs went for $1.99 per pound.
The 77 lambs were auctioned for an average of $2.66 per pound, or a total of $24,552. The average lamb weighed almost 120 pounds.
The 38 steers fetched a price of $1.07 per pound, or $47,268.35 total. The average steer weighed 1,167.4 pounds.
The one goat at auction brought $213.50, or $3.50 per pound.
Auctioneers were Rich Pickett of Caldwell, Idaho, and Gary Sparks of Nyssa.
The livestock auction drew a large crowd Saturday afternoon, but it didnt signify the end of the celebration, White said. More events, including the Cutest Chick Contest, were scheduled after the sale to entice people to stay until the fair officially closed at 6 p.m.
White said that the friendly competitions and the almost constant musical entertainment together with improvements brought on by a little paint here and a few flowers there were achieved only through the contributions of dozens of volunteers.
Several families were here off and on for two weeks straight, she said. Weve cleaned and cleaned, and it truly is, in my mind, a county fair.
Not even Saturdays thunderstorm nor the crisis du jour no towels in the mens room could dampen Whites spirit.
If this had happened the first day, she said, eyeing the inclement weather, I might have panicked. But when youre having a good time and then you encounter a little problem, it remains just that: a little problem.
People are happy here at the fair, and thats the way its supposed to be.