Horse competition Micah Ott

Competitor Micah Ott leads his horse to be judged during the Horse Show at the Story County Fair in Nevada on July 20. The event started at nine in the morning and ran all day. 

On a hot and humid day, hundreds of Story County community members fill their weekend schedule with activities ranging from horse to swine showing. For many of these community members, this event has been a family tradition. 

The Story County Youth Fair is an annual event, held Saturday through Wednesday at the Story County Extension Center in Nevada and is planned by members of 4-H and FFA.

“They choose project areas that they’d like to create exhibits or decide what kind of animals they’d like to show,” Michelle Gibson, fair operations manager for the Story County Fair Association, said. “Then, throughout the year they attend club meetings or chapter meetings and just basically work on these projects all year long.” 

The fair offers a variety of events ranging from photography exhibits to animal shows. The Rabbit Hopping Show kicked off the fair bright and early at 8 a.m. 

Rabbit Hopping 3

A Rabbit Hopping competitor springs over a hurdle during the Story County Youth Fair Rabbit Hopping event in Nevada on July 20. The event featured competitors of all shapes and sizes hopping over varying heights of hurdles.

The participants gathered in the Dueland Pavilion barn, with a variety of rabbits and had four courses each progressively getting more challenging.

The first course, the Straight Line Course, had short hurdles in a straight line while the final course, the Crooked Course, had hurdles varying in size that were formed in a zig-zag shape. 

The fair also offered a guinea pig agility show but due to lack of participants, the event was cancelled. 

The Story County Youth Fair is an event that many community members have participated in since their childhood and passed the tradition on to their children. 

“I was involved for 12 years — since 4th grade to 12th grade — my parents were in 4-H, my grandparents were in 4-H [...] my kids are in 4-H right now, so it’s definitely a family tradition — which I think is the case with a lot of families,” Gibson said. 

Following the rabbit hopping, the horse show began at 9 a.m.

The horses were judged based on the type of performance and aspects ranging from appearance to physical activities, each getting more specific within the entry level. 

Eileen Miller, who is on Story County Fair Board, participated in the fair with her family for 19 years. She said agricultural programs such as 4-H and FFA programs help children develop leadership skills. Miller's daughter, Claira, participated in the horse show with her grey mare, Darcy.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s a blizzard, it doesn’t matter if it’s weather like this [summer] she is outside, she is taking care of that animal,” Eileen Miller said. “[...] So there’s no break, these kids are learning that it doesn’t matter if you’re tired, all this takes priority over night out with your friends, a T.V. show — this is the priority in life 365 days a year.” 

There was a Clover Kids Dog show and another dog show Sunday. The Clover Kids are children between kindergarten and 4th grade, participating in a six-week course to learn more about their dogs, basic obedience and commands. 

Dog looking at the camera

A canine competitor gets inspected by a judge at the Story County Youth Fair Dog Show in Nevada on July 21. The fair runs from July 20 to July 24. 

Julie Cizek, a volunteer for the Cloverkids Dog Show, said she participated in 4-H when she was younger and now volunteers every summer to help the kids train with their dogs. 

“[I like] seeing how far the kids come with their dogs every year–where they start and how they end up pulling it together to show at the fair,” Julie Cizek, a volunteer for the Cloverkids Dog show, said.

The Story County Youth Fair will have events starting at 8 a.m. Monday through Wednesday and will conclude with a ribbon auction 5:30 p.m. at the Dueland Pavilion. More information about the schedule can be found on the website

Reporting contributed by Grant Tetmeyer


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