County Fair races through week unscathed

Jett Elliott clings to his sheep’s side during the mutton busting competition at the Converse County Fair on July 14.

The pandemic did not deter hundreds of people from flocking to the mutton busting and pig wrestling competitions held July 14 at the state fairgrounds, as family and friends cheered on children bold enough to ride sheep and others battling unsuspecting pigs.

And ride they did. Nearly two dozen children ages eight and younger strapped on their helmets, mounted the sprightly sheep, and tried to stay on for as long as they could in the dirt arena as they sheep made a run for it.

Entrants were judged based on the length as well as the quality of their ride. The longest rides of the evening were between six and eight seconds.

The scores of the three winners were separated by only two points. Jake Smith scored 71 out of 100, securing him the first place award and a belt buckle courtesy of Delta Dental.

Kinzly North closely followed with 70 points, netting her a second place award for her gallantry.

Ryan Hiser, meanwhile, finished third with 69 points.

The event got off to a rough start when Natalie Roth, the first rider, was thrown from her sheep upon mounting it. She was not injured, and completed a successful reride later in the lineup.

After all the sheep escaped the clutches of the children, it was the pigs’ turn to be afraid.

The pig wrestling competition saw children and adults chase and attempt to capture a slippery pig in a pool of mud, and place the pig inside a barrel within one minute.

Peewee, intermediate and adult teams all vied to get a grip on the pigs, as the frantic animals ran for safety and had the humans running in circles around the ring, arms outstreched.

No peewee teams were able to grab the pig in less than one minute. In the intermediate division, first place went to the team “Fresh Meat,” consisting of Carter Achuleta, Luke Ewing, Tegan Seeds and Brodie Zwetzig, for capturing the pig in 11.42 seconds.

Prior to the evening’s proceedings, the Converse County Fair Board took some precautions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The board completed a health inspection of the arena with the Converse County Health Department, and hired a cleaning company to sanitize its surfaces, board chairman Donald Blackburn said.

The pandemic, and economic downtown, likely still had an impact on the evening’s attendance, which was down 65 to 75 percent from previous years.

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