While much of the spotlight during the Antelope County Fair is on the showings and evening events, the kids are still hard at work throughout the day each day as well.
The 4-H'ers have been spending their days all week caring for their animals, cleaning stalls and prepping for their turn on the show floor.
The fair will continue on Friday with the showing of horses, rabbits, poultry, goats, sheep and small animals before wrapping up the day with Granger Smith in concert.
Today's Antelope County Fair Dairy Show saw Senior entrant Brianna Fry and Open Class entrant Stacy Snodgrass showing off their cows.
Brianna had one cow entered in each of the following categories and won the following awards:
- Purple Ribbon
Winter Heifer Calf
- Purple Ribbon
- Purple Ribbon
- Reserve Champion Non-producing
- Purple Ribbon
- Champion Non-producing
2 Year Old Producing
- Blue Ribbon
3 Year Old Producing
- Purple Ribbon
- Champion Producing
- Champion DHIA Production Award
Teams showed off their cattle chasing skills on Wednesday night during the Team Penning event at the Antelope County Fair.
The team of Philip Wright, Don Schmitz and Patrick Mahoney took top prize. Runner-up went to Gale Cargill, Trevor Cargill and Luke Staubb. Patrick Mahoney, Eric Sandbulte and Adam Seier teammed up to take third place. Fourth place went to Gene Kasperbauer, Eric Sandbulte and Don Schmitz while Harold Fischer, Eric Sandbulte and Reed Stolpe took fifth.
More than 130 years of ag heritage will be celebrated this week as the Antelope County Fair kicks off in Neligh. Its struggle during the late 1890s and 1920s are rarely discussed but remain a testament to the county’s dedication toward agriculture.
Now housed on the east edge of town along Highway 275, the first four Antelope County Fairs were on Hans Schutt’s farm located two miles north of Neligh.
According to Emanuel Wolfe, who ran the mercantile store Wolf & Co., the first Antelope County Fair was in 1883. It remained on Schutt’s property until 1886 when the agriculture association purchased 26 acres from Lyman Bailiey for $900, moving it to Riverside Park.
To help with moving expenses and grading the dirt horse track, the association sold stocks and were ready for the fair in the fall of 1887. Only 60 percent of the premiums were paid out that year as the association struggled with expenses.
Despite the financial struggle, attendance records were shattered with the move to Riverside Park along the Elkhorn River. The times were starting to get tough and became worse quickly as a drought struck the area, leading to a halt to the fair.
“There was not thought of a fair or anything else, only to figure how in thunder everybody was going to live through until another crop could be raised,” according to Wolfe.
History books show the Antelope County Fair took a nearly 20-year hiatus from 1894 to 1913; however, that conflicts with documentation showing the Antelope County Fair cutest baby contest from 1896 when Phoebe Rorabaugh won and Olive Suter was second. Death records confirm their births as 1895, putting in question when the fair actually stopped due to the drought.
It was during the fair’s hiatus, the ag association sold the land in Riverside Park to the City of Neligh with the stipulation that the City take over the mortgage.
But residents wanted a fair back in Antelope County and elected fair officers in 1911 with L.G. Babock serving as president. It would take three more years before a fair would return to Antelope County. Once the state legislature passed a bill making it a law for tax assistance with fair associations, residents worked to reinstate the fair.
Memberships were sold for $2 each, according to the book History of Antelope County, and in September 1914, the Antelope County Fair continued and has been an annual event ever since. Three years after the fair’s continuation, the association built the pavilion and gave it to the park in lieu of rent for 10 years.
In the 1918 fair book, the association proclaimed itself as having the highest premiums of all county fairs in the state.
“The the meeting of the Board of Directors this last fall, the amount of the premiums offered on all livestock was more than doubled, and at this time, there is not a county fair in the state of Nebraska which offers a larger premium on livestock than our own Antelope County Fair,” the greeting stated.
It went on to say that the purpose of the fair was to increase and encouraged more purebred livestock and grains.
“If our association can, but its influence in urging that pure seed be sown, help our farmers to raise two kernels of wheat where they have heretofore only raised one, it has done a patriotic service as well as helping our own farmers. Let us all pull together for Antelope County and the good old U.S.A.,” the greeting stated.
By 1919, the association began looking at additional tracts of land near the pavilion and sent two people to contact W.H. VanPatter about purchasing 22 acres that adjoined the park on the east, according to the History of Antelope County.
“The idea was to move buildings other than the pavilion to the extra ground where there would be space available for pens and crowds. The grandstand and tract were used as before,” it stated.
The 1919 fair had the largest in its history. Admissions were used to pay premiums and other expenses. Records show the balance on Sept. 12, 1919, was $59.19 while on Dec. 30, 1919, it was $137.85. In 1920, the fair had a huge carnival, including a ferris wheel at the midway.
The ag association continued selling memberships, raising the price to $10 and by 1925 sold a record 100 memberships.
The fair continued to grow the addition of 4-H Clubs in 1927. During that time, the fair had carnivals, afternoon concerts by school bands, horse races, hot air balloon rides and trotting races. Beauty contests were added in 1928 and baseball in 1931 when the American Legion team was organized.
The association continued to work toward improving the fair and adding different entertainment as the years passed. In 1953, the fair’s entertainment included a “Tournament of Thrills” featuring Ford cars performing tricks, including driving on two wheels. Frank Morrison served as president of the fair and Sol Greenamyre as vice president.
While the Antelope County Fair is now in its 103rd year annual, but the legacy of the fair actually dates back to 1883 when residents first worked together to celebrate the agriculture accomplishments of their neighbors.
Tuesday night was a night of laughs as the Ag Olympics kicked off the night events at the Antelope County Fair.
Contestants in four different age groups raced the clock for a chance to earn the top prize. The events included a cattle pull, tire stacking, hanging clothes, a tater toss and corn shucking.
Edie Sauser and Sarah Hemenway took first place in the 4-6 age group while Beau and Lauryn Krause took second and Micah Hughes and Cason Hoefer earned third.
In the 7-12 age group, Samuel Hemenway and Jacob Henery earned first, followed by Jazmine and Juliana McNally and Ashlynne Charf and Cassidy Booth.
The 13-18 age group was won by Carson Whitesel and Ashton Higgins. Taking second were Taylynne Charf and Josey Booth followed by Brooke Frey and Claire Whitesel in third.
In the 19 and older division, Brent Pickrel and Cory Furstenau put in the winning time, followed by the team of Steve Simonsen and Jared Jacob. Courtney Pellatz and Marie Demerath came in third.
This year's Antelope County Fair Cat Show had a fantastic turn-out between showmanship, clover-kids and open class. Not to mention cute and curious cats that climbed, purred and nuzzled their way to the judge's heart.
Check out below who participated with their furry friend, who topped the list and plenty of cute photos.
Long Hair Cat:
Long Hair Kitten:
Short Hair Cat:
Short Hair Kitten:
Antelope County Fair kicked off today with its annual dog show.
This year there were three contestants: Sadie Smutny, Dalton Smutny and Keston Rubeck. Each showed off how well they have each trained their dog.
The awards given were:
The Antelope County Fair came to a close Sunday night with the tractor pull.
Fans turned out to see the various trucks and tractors show off their power at the Antelope County Fairgrounds. The evening was filled with cheers, roaring engines and black smoke throughout the arena.
In the 3000 RPM division, Matt and Adam Ellenberger took first with a pull of 303.90. Bob Dommier took first in the Econo Mod division with a pull of 307.25.
For the 2WD division, Luke Renter's pull of 352.55 brought loud cheers as he took first place. In the 4WD division, Dave Wenski pulled 342.90 for first place. Keith Keaschall's pull of 342.65 in the final pull of the evening was also good for first place.
For many, fair season may feel hectic or stressful, even if they have been preparing all year for it.
For Brad Averill, however, this takes on a whole new meaning,
After only a month on the job as the new Extension Educator for Antelope County, Averill has to assume his duties in the fair activities. He says that is responsibilities for the fair fluctuate as he has not been in the position long enough to determine set duties for fair season. However, he steps down and follows the guidance of others. "I am there for whatever Tessa (Hain, the 4-H Youth Development Coordinator) and Caitlin (Lane, the Office Manager) need. Its not really some sort of glamorous position, at least not this year. Since I came in so close to the fair, there wasn't an outlined job description for me for the fair."
Averill says the county fair and the 4-H experience is new to him, but he is enjoying it very much. "I haven't had a whole lot of experience before this week with county fairs and 4-H. They (4-H) are a wonderful program. It brings the whole community together and gives the kids a chance to show off their skills and work on their interviewing skills.The families are really helpful and it is really neat seeing the kids work towards their ribbons."
Averill is currently serving as the Extension Educator in Antelope County. He started the position on July 5. Averill and his wife, Michelle, decided to make the move from Orlando, Florida to Nebraska in June. Michelle decided to initially stay behind in Orlando, as she is finishing up transactions with her job as a Real Estate Agent.
Overall, Averill says he is very pleased with this year's fair and everything that goes along with it, and is anxious to see what his position will bring him in next year's fair.
A new award was created this year in honor of one of Antelope County's most devoted friends of 4-H, Jolene Mosel.
Mosel, who died last month after a lengthy battle with cancer, was remembered Sunday during the Antelope County Fair's awards ceremony. The inaugural Jolene Mosel Helping Hand Award was given to Anne Meis of Elgin.
Tessa Hain, 4-H Youth Development Coordinator, said the award will be given annually to an outstanding individual who may be a parent or a volunteer who works to make the fair season exceptional.
Nominations were made during the fair by putting names into a suggestion box located near the 4-H food stand inside the Ag Society building. Hain said there were many wonderful nominations that she and the Mosel family read through on Saturday before choosing Meis.