Many students from Glencoe Public Schools participate in the Payne County Fair every year. Several won top honors in the essay contest, collecting prize money for their writing. The topic for the essay was “Why are farm animals important to the Payne County Fair?”
Winners in the high school division included, junior Bailey Gottfried, first place; sophomore Lora Buntin, second place, sophomore Travis Smith, third place; sophomore Rory McDaniel, fourth place; and junior Kate Goeringer, fifth place. Winners in the junior high division included freshman Samuel Snider, second place, freshman Christian Ryan, third place; and freshman Ryan Cook, fifth place. Winners from sixth grade included Jaelin Baker, first place; Bryn Cook, third place; and Brooklyn Ross, fourth place.
“The first Payne County Fair was held in 1890 in Couch Park,” said Bailey Gottfried who is also president of the Junior Class. She donated her $50 prize money for her first place essay to the Glencoe High School Junior Class Activity Fund for the 2018-19 Prom.
In her research, Bailey discovered more than $8 billion of Oklahoma’s economy comes from the agriculture community.
“Programs like FFA and 4-H give school children the opportunity to learn more about agriculture and its importance,” she said. “Kids who show their animals pour their time, money and love into their livestock.”
Many writers pointed out that raising animals help young people gain a sense of responsibility.
“Farm animals are a great source of entertainment,” said Lora Buntin. “Kids like getting to see and pet the animals at the fair.”
Lora mentioned the kids who show animals learn about finances and good sportsmanship, too.
“They learn how to have patience with and to care for the animals,” she said.
Rory McDaniel noted lots of hard work goes into a livestock project.
Kate Goeringer agrees.
“Kids put lots of time and effort into feeding, grooming and showing their animals,” Kate said. “Knowing how your animals compare to others gives the livestock producers information about the quality of their work.”
Most people don’t get to see farm animals up close. The fair is a good place for everyone to learn about the different breeds of animals.
“Farm animals at the county fair build strong communities, bringing agriculture to urban areas,” Kate said. “It’s learning about the heart of agriculture.”
Many of the essay writers also show animals and attending the fair is a tradition passed down through generations. A fair without animals is merely a carnival and nothing beats seeing the smile on a child’s face after winning a grand championship. The animals bring joy and excitement to kids of all ages.
Senior Tess Haddock wrote that production agriculture is often at the brunt of many misconceptions.
“Finding new and interesting ways to teach the truth about production agriculture is a necessity,” she said. “Children and adults alike need to know what this industry is truly about. Production agriculture feeds our world. Food insecurity is all around us. We need to build up our industry.”
Columnist Jamie O’Bryant is a freshman at Glencoe High School. Photographer Caitlin Leimenstoll is a GHS senior. Students in the GHS Newspaper Course and Media Production Course contributed to this report.