BAZETTA - Thursday's dose of temperatures above 70 degrees and sun in the sky is just what the doctor ordered for the Trumbull County Fair, which was sacked by poor weather in its first two days.
Rain plagued Tuesday and Wednesday of the annual agricultural exhibition, especially Wednesday, when a large thunderstorm that dropped several inches of rain caused one of the bigger attractions, the late-model dirt automobile race, to be postponed until Sunday.
One day makes one heck of a difference.
''With the good weather, we think we got great attendance,'' said Tom Sawyer, fair board president. ''I'm sure it's up there.''
The turn of fortune let a full schedule of activities proceed, including the Little King and Queen pageant and the Junior Fair's market beef show.
Thursday also marked the beginning for free shuttle service for fairgoers because of water-logged field parking lots. The service continues today through Sunday, beginning at noon through 11 p.m., from the Trumbull Career and Technical Center (the former vocational school in Champion) to gates A and C.
: Allison Bell, 18, of Johnston, right, and her brother, Ryan, 24, prepare Allison’s steer, Royce, for the Junior Fair market beef show Thursday. The steer won first place in its class and was the Reserve Grand Champion. Bell also showed another steer, two hogs and two goats. Photo by R. Michael Semple
Back in the west corner of the sprawling fairgrounds on Everett Hull Road is a small show ring, used this time for the market beef show.
Monica Culp, adviser the Trumbull County Beef Boosters, a 4-H club, said 18 young people between 9 and 18 years old participated in the event, with 25 market steers and eight carcass steers.
''They can't breed or anything,'' Culp said. ''They are to make it to your kitchen table.''
The steers are shown in five classes, separated into the groups by their hip height and then judged on several criteria, including structure and movement. Showmanship is judged, too, but more for the handler, Culp said.
Allison Bell of Johnston showed two steers, one named Royce, which won first place in its class and was the overall reserve champion, also known as second place. The other steer, Reece, won second place in its class.
This steer competition, the 18-year-old's last, was a return to the event for Bell, who didn't show beef for several years in favor other showing other animals. This year, she also showed two pigs and two goats.
One of her hogs was grand champion and one of her goats, reserve grand champion.
''Pigs are my main animal,'' said Bell, a recent graduate of Maplewood High School, who says she started in 4-H when she was about 9-years-old. ''They (steers) are a long project. I don't think people know how much work you put into them.''
Culp said steers are the longest market project at the fair. Kids who show typically get the animal sometime around September and October and care for it through July, when the fair begins.
Seventeen-year-old Josh Muresan, a senior at Maplewood High School, showed one live steer and two carcasses. All the money that he's earned since he began showing about eight years back has gone into a college tuition savings account.
He's likes the University of West Virginia, but still is feeling out his options.
''It's been a good learning experience ... keeps me busy,'' Muresan said.