Way back in the fall when we set our fair theme which is, “You have to believe it to see it,” we had no idea how true it would be.

The year 2020 is shaping up to be a year that you either have to believe to see or see to believe! Guess what I can’t believe? I can’t believe our Teton County 4-H Fair is this week. We hope to be able to host public at the events next year, but for this year, we have limited the shows to participating youth and immediate family members. Along with volunteers, we have worked hard to make sure youth still have this opportunity.

Youth will be able to show their skills and receive evaluation and education in a variety of areas. Our interview and exhibit judging will be Wednesday, followed by animal shows and culminating in a 4-H Market Livestock Auction on Saturday.

For those looking to secure their meat protein source, we have up for auction 26 beef, 23 hogs, three lambs and two goats. I have mostly eaten beef all my life because my family raised cattle while I was growing up. I hadn’t tried capretto until 4-H members started selling meat goats at the Teton County 4-H Fair. On a normal year (which clearly 2020 is not) we serve appetizers at our “Meat and Greet” and we feature each type of meat product. I have to say the goat meatballs are a personal favorite and I’ll miss not having those this year, as we are not able to host a reception.

Speaking of good meat, for one of the recent years’ fairs, I was helping tabulate for a judge during the carcass evaluation. 4-H members receive the data from the evaluation so they can learn about their animal selection and feeding programs to produce a top-quality product. While in the cooler that year, I saw some of the nicest looking beef I’d ever seen and I grew up with a custom meat shop in the family, too. The judge and I appreciated the beauty on some beef that rated prime. I went home craving a really good steak.

If you are thinking about a way to get some meat in your freezer, this 4-H auction is a good option. We have shipping and processors arranged with beef going to Vandevanter Meats while hogs, lambs and goats are headed to Bear Paw Meats. Both processors will deliver cut/wrapped/frozen meat to Choteau at some point in July for buyers to retrieve. To find out details check out our webpage at http://teton.msuextension.org/4hfair/4HFair2020Info.html.

That site will answer many questions potential buyers might have and you can jump to the link for the livestock auction at www.jerrycollinsauctions.hibid.com after reading details on our page. The sale will be held online.

Those who want to sit in front of a live auctioneer are welcome to attend at the Stage Stop Inn in Choteau on Saturday, June 27, at 7 p.m., space permitting. Those attending the sale in person will be viewing the screens and seeing the same thing as those bidding from home.

Since this method is new this year, we wanted to kick the auction off with a few practice items so people will know it is as easy as pie to participate in the auction this way. If you “practice” long enough that you are the high bidder, you may end up buying not just a piece of the pie, but the whole thing!

Kyona Yeager has earned many rosettes at the Teton County 4-H Fair over the years on the various pies she has made. Kyona has crafted pie baking into an art form. Her pies are so pretty you almost don’t want to eat them. She offers the buyer’s choice of a pecan or strawberry-rhubarb pie that can be made to order on a mutually agreeable date with delivery within a 50-mile radius of Fairfield. If the buyer selects a strawberry-rhubarb pie, it will need to be ordered in the next few weeks to make use of fresh rhubarb. Kyona has chosen for the proceeds of the sale of this auction item to go to the Teton County Food Pantry.

No matter how you slice it, Madeline Konen is excellent at making pie. She got plenty of practice a few years ago when she took top place with a 4-H demonstration on pie baking. For our auction, she is offering one fresh, homemade apple pie from a time-tested recipe. A pie will be available at the Stage Stop Inn on Saturday, June 27.

Should the highest bidder be attending in person, they can take home the pie that evening. If the highest bidder is someone joining online, Madeline will make a fresh apple pie at mutually agreeable date with delivery within a 50-mile radius of Fairfield. Madeline has selected for proceeds from the sale of this auction item to go to Farm in the Dell on the Rocky Mountain Front.

We also have up for auction a pair of antique batwing chaps featuring the original silver conchos, buckles and clips and an embossed back of the waist. They were made in the early 1940’s by renown saddle maker and leatherworker Victor Ario at the Great Falls Saddlery Co. in Great Falls and feature his maker’s stamp.

They were made for John “Jack” Hinman who had been named the District Ranger for the US Forest Service in Choteau in 1941. Mr. Hinman used a horse almost daily while performing his job duties. When Mr. Hinman started his job in Choteau, the Teton Canyon Road consisted of two tire tracks. Mr. Hinman retired from the USFS to a home on Flathead Lake where he lived with his wife, Marjory, until he passed away in 1981.

The chaps have been in the possession of his youngest son, Ron Hinman, since that time. Ron’s daughter, Sharla, is part of the MSU Extension team in Teton County. Ron Hinman has chosen to donate them with the proceeds going to Teton County 4-H Council.

Once those three items are sold, we will move onto the business of helping you see the meat that could fill your freezer for the remainder of 2020. Remember to check out the auction website to see the great job our 4-H members have done learning how to raise a locally grown meat product. We hope to share some of the other great projects with the public sometime after the fair.

For now, you’ll just have to believe it until you can see it!