The 2020 Teton County 4-H Fair was one for the record books.

The 4-H Fair, which kicked off with the horse show on June 21 and finished with the livestock auction on June 27, ran smoothly but was anything but typical. Given health concerns around COVID-19, the annual event was held without public spectators. Only the participating youth and immediate family members were in attendance.

Teton County/MSU Extension Agent Jane Wolery said youth were able to show their skills and receive evaluation and education in a variety of areas. There was interview and exhibit judging on Wednesday, followed by animal shows and culminating in a 4-H Market Livestock Auction on Saturday.

Overall, Wolery felt the fair went off without a hitch. She commented there was a great deal more work up-front before the fair, but the week of the fair was much simpler and overall easier to manage. Wolery thanked county colleague Melissa Moyer, director of the Teton County Public Health Department, for her assistance throughout the process of organizing the fair. Wolery noted the information Moyer provided not only helped locally but also helped agents throughout the region looking for resources as they began planning their 4-H events.

Numbers were down significantly this year in participation, as was anticipated. In the interview judging, there were about a third of the projects from previous years. There were five small animal entries.

Serving as interview judges from MSU Extension were Kara Tangedal, 4-H Youth Development agent and Andrew Ferrat, a student intern from Lewis and Clark County; Rose Malasani, Agriculture and Natural Resources agent from Cascade County; Adriane Good, ag agent from Pondera County and Kim Woodring, ag agent from Toole County.

Wolery said the area agents were happy to volunteer to assist at the Teton County 4-H Fair.

Brent Roeder, MSU Extension Specialist in Range Sheep Production and a former Teton County Extension agent, was the small animal judge. Wolery expressed her appreciation to Roeder for judging the small animals. She noted after the show how challenging it can be to find a judge with knowledge of cats, rabbits, dogs and chickens who also can work so easily with the 4-H members. “He put the younger 4-H members showing for their first or second year at ease and helped them learn while they were showing,” she added.

Marty Ropp, founder and executive officer of Allied Genetic Resource from Illinois, was the large animal livestock judge this year. He is a nationally-noted judge who has worked shows with hundreds of head of steers. Wolery said the Extension booked Ropp early in January before the health concerns around COVID-19 manifested. “He was so easy to work with during the ups and downs of planning the fair and didn’t seem to care what the numbers were for participants,” Wolery said. “He was so down-to-earth and flexible and was very reasonable considering the level of competition he judges,” she added. As a former Extension agent, he had the knowledge and educational background to share with the 4-H members, which was also appreciated.

In the 4-H livestock sale, club members sold 52 market animals. The overall average weight for the pigs was 265 pounds and the average sale price was $4.99 per pound. They also sold 25 market beef animals, whose average weight was 1,294 pounds at an average sale price of $3.53 per pound. Four 4-H members sold market lambs, whose average weight was 116 pounds. The lambs sold for an average of $4.75 a pound. Two market goats sold with an average weight of 77.5 pounds at an average price of $6.50 per pound.

The senior members of 4-H served as greeters at the Stage Stop Inn for the livestock sale. The senior members include Lila Bradley, Samara DeBruycker, Quincy Holmquist, Conner Klick, Nicholas Konen, Rebekah Major, Brigid Miller, Joshua Rammell, Casey Simons, Wyatt Ulsh and Janessa Willekes.

Each year, 4-H recognizes a person, business or group of people who have contributed to the 4-H program with a “Friends of 4-H” award. First recognized was the Choteau Volunteer Fire Department. Wolery explained that for the last several years, the Choteau fire department has hosed down the Weatherbeater before the fair, making it more manageable for the 4-H members and guests with respiratory challenges. “They give up a summer evening to help our program and we very much appreciate it,” Wolery said.

The council also recognized Kayla and Jerry Breen for their years of volunteerism, dedication and support of the 4-H program. “When I arrived in Teton County in 1998, Kayla was among the first volunteers I met,” Wolery said in presenting the award. “Kayla has spent numerous hours training youth as they learn new skills and helping them to learn to love serving their communities and Jerry has been a tremendous support of 4-H as well, always watching for ways to be generous to a 4-H member who might need it the most.”

The individual dog, small animal, swine, sheep and steer awards were given as follows:

Beef Senior showmanship — senior: Alexis Morris, grand; Kwin Briscoe, reserve; junior: Kyona Yeager, grand; Abigail deVos, reserve; pre-junior: Cole deVos, grand; Rusch Yeager, reserve.

Market beef — Abigail deVos, grand; Kwin Briscoe, reserve.

Beef breeding — Cyler Yeager with cow-calf pair, grand; Kyona Yeager with bull under 1 year, reserve.

Lamb — senior: Lila Bradley, grand; Conner Klick, reserve; pre-junior: Boaz Lytle, grand.

Market lamb — Lila Bradley, grand; Conner Klick, reserve.

Swine — senior: Janessa Willekes, grand; Alexis Morris, reserve; junior: Tristan Rammell, grand; Abigail deVos, reserve; pre-junior: Cole deVos, grand; Tanner Willekes, reserve.

Market swine — Abigail deVos, grand; Addie Pearson, reserve.

Goat — junior: Kaylie Bender, grand; Katy Morris, reserve; pre-junior: Leisal Rammell, grand.

Goat market — Kaylie Bender, grand; Katy Morris, reserve.

Breeding goat — Leisal Rammell, grand.

Dog — junior and Sub-Novice B: Trinity Knable, grand.

Cat — pre-junior: Colin Woodhouse, grand and overall cat.

Fowl — junior: Trinity Knable, grand and overall fowl with Wyandotte hen; Trinity Knable, reserve with Wyandotte cockerel.

Rabbit — pre-junior: Keira Bender, grand and overall rabbit with Mini-Rex.