Participants gearing up for county fair

Reporter: Ellie Mahan and Editor: Shannon Cottongame

January 19, 2022

Events scheduled at Hillsboro fairgrounds next week…

Whitney High School senior Cheyenne Delong will show a market steer and heifer at the fair.

Young people throughout the county are preparing their livestock, creative arts and shop projects for next week’s Hill County Fair.

The fair will get underway Monday, January 24, and wrap up Saturday, January 29, at the fairgrounds in Hillsboro.

Due to the ongoing pandemic, there are also plans to livestream the events to accommodate those who would like to view them remotely. Check for more information when it is released.

The hard work of Hill County students will be on display in a number of competitions next week. A couple of those students talked to The Lakelander about what the fair means to them.

Cheyenne Delong, a senior at Whitney High School, will show a market steer that was born and bred in Hill County and a heifer. She started off showing goats her freshman year and then moved up to showing a cattle her junior year.

She said she has grown and learned from her experiences with showing over the years. Cheyenne loves the feeling of becoming very focused and in the moment when she is in the ring. Her little sister Olivia shares Cheyenne’s passion for showing animals.

Cheyenne said that she forms a strong connection with her animals and loves learning their different personalities.

“My steer is like a big ol’ puppy dog. Whenever he gets nervous he puts his head down on me. If we’re standing in line for a show and he’s nervous, he will just get close,” she said.

“My heifer has a personality of her own. She is smart, but she is like a little child. She wants to play a lot.”

Cheyenne said the competition is nerve-racking, especially because she is hoping to wow not only the judges but also the man she bought her steer from, who will also be in the audience. He breeds in the county, so she will be representing his name in addition to her own.

Cheyenne put in hours of hard work and preparation into this competition. She is also on Whitney’s powerlifting team, so she juggled her time spent in the barn with her time spent at powerlifting practices.

Cheyenne said, “The days I don’t have practice, we go out and work with the animals for about two to three hours and then we go home. On the days that I have practice, we go out for about an hour. Over the weekends, we’re up there constantly cleaning, feeding, working, just doing everything. What you put into it is what you get out of it.”

Dacey Allen, also a Whitney senior, will exhibit a heifer and steer and submit an ag mechanics project.

Dacey Allen, also a senior at Whitney High School, will be exhibiting a heifer, a steer and an agriculture mechanics project.

Her agriculture mechanics project will be a bench with a backrest made out of an old Ford tailgate that she refurbished and repainted. She is proud to be a girl who excels in the field of ag mechanics.

“All the boys in shop class are like ‘Why are you doing that? You’re a girl.’ Once they see me weld, they’re like ‘Dang, you’re pretty good for a girl.’”

Dacey has shown animals in the Hill County Fair every year since she was in fourth grade. She showed goats until her sophomore year of high school, when she swapped over to steers because she thought she thought she was old enough to handle a bigger, stronger animal.

She got her steer that she is showing in February of this year and has had her heifer since it was born about two years ago because it came out of her family’s herd. Dacey said her favorite part about showing animals is, “Learning responsibility to take care of not only myself but my animal too and always making sure my animal is fed and the water is full and just forming that bond with them.”

She said she enjoys the Hill County Fair because, “It seems as if everybody knows everybody there, so it’s the competition but it’s also the friendships. Whether you win or lose, it’s always a handshake in everything between all the exhibitors.”

Dacey said she is looking forward to being around everyone from the county again, and also cannot wait for the anticipation of being in the ring and finding out who the judge picks.

See the accompanying schedule on this page for more details about this year’s fair.

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