Stephenson County Farm Bureau News and Views

Another successful county fair in the books
Blessed by a week with no significant weather challenges other than some warm days, the 2017 Stephenson County Fair concluded its run on Sunday night July 9 after a fun and busy week. A large crowd enjoyed the Gary Allan concert on Wednesday evening, with popular local band Back Country Roads providing an entertaining opening act. Thursday saw the fair hitting full operations, with the $5 unlimited rides wristbands bringing the biggest crowds I’ve seen in many years to the grounds. The Lucas Oil Midwest Summer Nationals truck and tractor pulls drew good crowds on Thursday and Friday evenings, but the afternoon pulls on both days were more sparsely attended.

Saturday was filled with activity, beginning with the Junior Livestock Auction at 9 a.m. where we were pleased to be able to purchase the premiums on several animals and support the bidding on others. Our Master Showmanship Contest, which the Stephenson County Farm Bureau sponsored in cooperation with the University of Illinois Extension – Stephenson County, saw four young and talented livestock exhibitors displaying their showmanship abilities with a beef animal, hog, and sheep in front of a judge who assessed their skills. When the three sessions concluded, Jazmin Wingert of Kent was declared the winner of the $200 cash prize and a show bucket and feed scoop, compliments of SCFB. Second place of $100 cash and a bucket and scoop was claimed by Garrett Handsaker of Pearl City, with Cailey Cahoon of Orangeville placing third and Sierra Eversoll of Orangeville coming in fourth and receiving $20 gift cards. We greatly appreciate the efforts of Scott Kearns of Winslow, who did a fabulous job of overseeing the competition on short notice after our judge failed to show up. Jazmin will now represent Stephenson County at the Illinois State Fair Master Showmanship Contest on August 11 in Springfield.

Saturday afternoon also brought the Youth Ag Olympics in front of the grandstand, sponsored by the SCFB Young Leaders. Four teams competed for pride and prizes in six competitive events that tested both physical and mental abilities, with cash prizes of $300, $200, $150 and $100 at stake. Claiming victory with a narrow 1-point margin was the Lena-Winslow FFA team consisting of captain Meagan Mader, Chloe Mader, Sydney Lindquist, Hannah Visel, Maddie Young, Sam Kempel and Evan Trone. The runner-up B&S Express team included captain Jase Sheffey, Levi Sheffey, Ben Bremmer, Ethan Bremmer, Jordan Johnson and Jorja Johnson. Third place was captured by The Minions comprised of captain Maggie Goeke, Selena Goeke, Ben Fluegel, Kristina Fluegel, Natalie Mora, Sean Mora and Johnnie Mora, and the Davis Rockets took fourth with their team of captain Dawson Stache, Nathan Stache, Audrey Boyer, Cassie Boyer, Rebel Hitchcock, Celia Rothermel and Sarah Rothermel. Thanks to Young Leaders Ben and Kim Thomas, Brock Musser, Dan Scheider and Hayden Keltner for their great assistance!

Our final big event was the Kiddie Pedal Pull on Sunday July 9, also sponsored by the Young Leaders. We had a record 56 competitors in our state qualifier pull, with the top three in each weight class earing a trophy and the right to compete in the state finals on August 15 in Springfield.

Each competitor received gift coupons from McDonald’s, Dairy Queen and Pizza Hut along with string cheese from Farm First Dairy Cooperative, and the winners (in order of first through third) were: 30-45# – Colson Lamm, Lyla Grindey, and Taylor Nevel; 46-60# – Matthew Busker, Jace Pudwill, and Lorance Granneo; and 61-80# – Tucker Wichman, Eli Bremmer, and Dominic Granneo. The latter two classes were real battles, with Busker and Pudwill both making two full pulls before settling the score in Class 2, while Tucker Wichman avenged his Ag Breakfast loss to Eli Bremmer by nipping him by just over a foot after both had full pulls initially in Class 3. Thanks to Young Leaders Adam and Karen Kryder, Josh Endress, Brock Musser, and Lucas Kempel for their help with this event, along with our new Stephenson County Fair royalty who helped pass out trophies.

I want to say thanks to everyone who visited us at the Farm Fun Zone, to all our volunteers during the week, and to the fair board, staff and volunteers for making the 2017 fair one of the best in recent years. We look forward to reviewing the event at our next fair board meeting and beginning the planning process for 2018.

Stroke Detection Plus
We’re welcoming back Stroke Detection Plus for another round of their timely screenings on Thursday August 17 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Farm Bureau members receive a significant discount on the testing package, and you can call (877) 732-8258 to schedule your appointment.

Iceland trip preview
We’ve scheduled a preview program on Wednesday August 16 at 7:30 p.m. for our September 23-28, 2018 Iceland Adventure with area Farm Bureaus and Tri-State Travel. Jack Wideman will be here to share the images and details of this unique excursion, and refreshments will be provided. Only 32 seats will be available from the 6-county area participating in this trip, and you can read the basic itinerary and details at

End of an era
The news came through last week of the upcoming September 30 closing of the five Brennan’s Markets in four Wisconsin cities (including Monroe) after 75 years in business, another casualty of a rapidly changing retail environment where their business model just wasn’t supporting the family-owned enterprise in a sustainable way. They will be missed!

Bruce Johnson is the Manager of the Stephenson County Farm Bureau

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