The junior livestock show, the biggest part of the San Miguel Basin Fair, is set to continue this year, and County Parks and Open Space Director Janet Kask said it’s taken the dedication of the Fair Board, especially president Regan Snyder, to see it through. With modifications in place to ensure the health and safety of those involved, the sale is scheduled for July 19.
Kask said no approval from the board of county commissioners is required. Still, Grace Franklin, who is the public health director for the county, must sign off. Kask said Franklin is aware of the importance of the livestock sale.
“She has been in the loop and has attended meetings,” Kask said. “She is the source to grant the approval, but the public health orders are a constantly evolving process.”
Kask said the updating of public health orders with the state and county has made it challenging. Still, she credits Snyder for her work in thinking creatively during this time.
According to Kask, she and Snyder are working closely to make the sale work for the 4-H kids and all families involved.
That includes making the sale available to people who might want to bid or buy online or over the phone. It also means allowing people on site to the fairgrounds who want to be involved in person.
“We have come up with enough scenarios to address all concerns and keep it open for those who want to participate,” she said.
Kask said the space is limited to a certain number of people, and that number is changing currently. Still, she said the sale could happen either inside in the events center or maybe outside at Pig Palace. Social distancing will take place, perhaps by having seating in every other row of the bleachers.
The county has to take into account the number of guests, showmen and family members.
To make things even more efficient, she and Snyder discussed selling species in groups, rather than switching animals around throughout the afternoon.
“We can do all species at once, keep them grouped,” she said. “This way you have those bidders and buyers there at once, and if they’re not interested, we can funnel them out the side door, and bring in the next group for bidding on the next species.”
Kask said Franklin is aware there is a deadline and that the Fair Board needs to get the word out. Another meeting was held Monday night to discuss.
“Regan and I have a great relationship,” Kask said. “She knows the county is there to make this happen. If we need to bend this way or that, or throw in a few extra dollars, we are there. DeeAnna (Burbridge) and myself, we participate in meetings and will do what it takes to make this happen.”
Kask said it comes down to the kids and the 4-H animals they purchased long ago, fed and raised. She said it’s about their investment in time, feed and care.
She added that she has said to Snyder repeatedly, “In challenging times like these, we see what people are made of.”
Kask said it would be easier for some counties and states to simply cancel events like this altogether. She and Snyder would rather stand up, do what it takes to continue, stick together and face challenges.
“It might be difficult, but pulling it off is the ultimate goal,” she said.