Sisters Share Path To Ribbons

Northern Gila County Fair starts this week

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Sisters Bethany and Sarah Sprinkle are among the 4-H and FFA members who will have their animals auctioned at the fair.

Bethany, 13, is entering her Suffix/Hamp cross lamb, Annie.

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Barbara Sprinkle helps her daughter Beth measure her sheep, as they prepare for the livestock show.

Sarah, 11, has a pig she has raised.

The older of the girls has raised three pigs since joining 4-H at the age of 9. Two were projects for the club; the other was for meat.

Bethany said she did well with her past pig projects and took Reserve Champion honors her first year. She said she switched to a lamb project this year because she wanted to try something different.

"I thought it would be more fun. Annie has much more of a personality. She's very curious," Bethany said.

The 9-month-old lamb also has the odd habit of running up the walls of her shed.

"She will run around the shed and get to going so fast, she goes up the walls in the corners," Bethany explained.

Bethany and Annie will be taking part in the 4-H and FFA Livestock Show at 5 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 6 at the Payson Event Center. They will get to demonstrate their showmanship skills in the arena. It will be the first such experience for Annie. Bethany has been practicing arena skills with Annie at home, but she has never been in an arena.

"It will be OK because of the practice," Bethany said.

This is the second year Sarah has been in 4-H and this is the second pig she has raised. While the pig is only a few months old, he is almost as big as Sarah.

"They grow fast," she said.

Sarah disagrees with her sister about the personality of pigs.

"When he was little, he was very shy around people. Now they don't bother him. He's really frisky and runs me around a lot."

Sarah will use the money she earns from auctioning her pig for college.

"It's a good experience and fun," she said.

The auction of 4-H and FFA animals will be at 5 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 8 at the Payson Event Center.

There is still time to enter the fair. While the large livestock division is limited to members of 4-H and FFA, anyone may enter the small animal division, which includes rabbits and guinea pigs, poultry, American game birds, pigeons and all other caged birds.

There is an open horse show for non-4-H riders, too.

Other divisions the public may enter are: agriculture and horticulture; floriculture; home making arts; domestic science; canning; hobbies and handicrafts; fine arts; and photography.

The fair books, which contain the rules and entry forms, are available at the Payson Parks and Recreation Office at Green Valley Park, at both the Payson and Pine Public Libraries, and online at www.ci.payson.az.us and then go to "online documents" and click into "community events."

Entries for divisions at the Tonto Apache Tribe Exhibit Hall (all other than animals) are due between noon and 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 5. Livestock, rabbit and bird entries to be shown at the Payson Event Center are due between noon and 8 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 5.

The 53rd Annual Northern Gila County Fair opens to the public with the 4-H and FFA Livestock Show at 5 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 6. The Payson Event Center is open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday, Sept. 7, with the 4-H Horse Show at 9 a.m. in the arena. The Tonto Apache Tribe Exhibit Hall is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday, Sept. 7, with demonstrations and workshops throughout the day in the gymnasium.

The Payson Event Center is open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 8, with the Open Horse Show at 9 a.m., the Doggie Fun Day at 10 a.m., and the Livestock Auction at 5 p.m. There will also be a variety of special events throughout the day, including a parade of antique tractors at noon.

The Tonto Apache Tribe Exhibit Hall will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., again with demonstrations and workshops throughout the day. The exhibit hall is the only part of the fair open on Sunday, Sept. 9; the hours will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The fair will also have a carnival, craft fair and lots of food vendors.

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