Horse barn supervisor Renee Cox refers to the Iroquois County Fair participants as a big family.
“Once you’re in, you’re in,” Cox said of the young people involved in Friday’s riding classes and gaming.
Cox believes the horse events, which include barrel racing and pole bending, are exciting for kids of all ages. In fact, the horse numbers seem to increase each year at the fair.
“Sometimes, we’ll have kids come even from different counties just to do the junior show.”
Maria Lemenager of Loda was preparing to show her horse Friday. Lemenager has been showing since she was three years old and believes there is still a lot to learn even though she had quite a bit of practice over the years.
“It takes a lot of practice and hard work,” she said.
Ryan Drayer of Rankin was preparing to show his Simental heifer. The 17-year-old wants to go into the field of agribusiness and received champion last year.
“This year, I got beat in my class but hopefully I go back in there,” Drayer explained.
Gracie Wagoner of Milford was showing beef cattle with hopes of getting overall reserve champion. Wagoner has a busy year attending two jackpot shows, fairs in Ford and Iroquois counties and eventually the Illinois State Fair in Springfield. The Iroquois County Fair is one of Wagoner’s favorites since she knows several people in the area.
“They don’t get to be around cows much and then they always come and mess around with my cows and love it,” Wagoner said.