Noah Shear (front row, center) signed his letter of intent to play basketball for Hope College. Mother Angel Shear (front row, left) and father Todd Shear joined their son at his signing with (back row, from left) AAU Coach Derick Adams, sister Indi Shear, Northfield Athletic Director Clint Davis and high school basketball coach Patrick Hopkins. Photo by Emma Rausch
Drew Clark (front row, center) signed his letter of intent to wrestle at Trine University. His parents Kevin and Kristi Clark (front row, from left) joined him at his sign with Northfield Athletic Director Clint Davis (back row, from left) and Northfield Wrestling Coach Gary Norman. Photo by Emma Rausch
by Aaron Johnson
The Wabash County 4-H Fair is an event that many people in the county look forward to every year, and this year there are some special events added to the schedule. Each of the main events listed here begin at 7 p.m.
On Monday, July 7, the fair will end its opening night with a mud bogging event. mud bogging is a race through a mud pit whose victor is determined by the furthest distance travelled through the pit. Should more than one competitor cross the pit, the winner is determined by the fastest time to cross the finish line. For the 4-H fair, there will be multiple classes in which riders may compete and these classes are separated by weight of the vehicles. The classes will be divided into heats and the winner of each heat will move into the final round of that class. The victor of the final round will be crowned as winner of the class.
Tuesday, July 8, will feature a Tractor Pull, in which competitors will pull sledges across the arena. These tractor pull events will also be divided into classes and each tractor will pull the sledge as far as it can. The driver that pulls the sledge the furthest wins that class.
On Wednesday, July 9, another new event will come to Wabash: the autocross. This autocross will include all vehicles such as pickup trucks, vans, and derby cars. There is a mini-size class and a full-size class for the vehicles involved in this event. The Fair Association Council and the 4-H Fair Board will prepare an obstacle course with rolling hills through which the competitors will drive. There is a heat lap for each of the classes, and the top three from each heat lap go to the final for a 20-lap race.
Wild Hog Mud Wrestling will occur on Thursday, July 10, which is another new addition to the fair this year. Participants can sign up for one of 12 classes that are divided by age and gender. They are ages 8-11, 12-15, 16-18, and 19 and older. In each age class there are divisions for team members to be all male, all female, or mixed. The entry cost is $40 per team and registration is open until Wednesday, July 9. Admission to the event is $5, and kids five years and younger get in free. Competitors will have to attempt to catch and place the hog on a barrel with bare hands in one minute or less. The winning team will be determined by the time that they took to place hog onto the barrel. Mary Hollingshead, the organizer of the new events, took pride in the Hog Wrestling event as she thought it would be a great addition to the fair.
“A lot of the surrounding counties have had success with it and it seems to be a popular thing,” Hollingshead said. “So we wanted to try something different and we’ve had several teams already enter. I believe for the first year it will do alright.”
The arena will be empty on Friday, July 11, but the rest of the fair will be open for pedestrians to enjoy. There is a free stage open to bands that want to come in to play at the fair in the evening.
On Saturday, July 12, the final day of the fair, there will be a Demolition Derby. This event is also split up into several different classes depending on the type of vehicle. Mini, full-size, truck, and powder-puff are the divisions for this event. The Derby will entail drivers ramming the vehicles into each other and the winner will be the driver of the last vehicle that is still operational.
After the Demolition Derby, the rides at the fair will still be open to anyone who wants to ride. The rides will stay open until 12:30 a.m. and anyone that bought a wristband will be able to continue riding after the derby ends. Wristbands will be sold for $12 on Saturday and are good for all days and all rides.
A special event series for the kids of Wabash County is being held during the week of the fair. It is the Power Wheels competitions. The first of these events will be a Power Wheels Bogging on Monday before the adult mud bogging. The kids will ride their Power Wheels through the mud pit and the one that gets the furthest wins.
The second of the series is the Power Wheels Race. This will occur Wednesday before the autocross. The kids will ride in their Power Wheels and compete in a race through an obstacle course similar to the autocross. The course will be abbreviated and modified to accommodate the smaller vehicles.
The final event of the Power Wheels is the Mini-Demolition Derby. This is set to start on Saturday before the adult Demolition Derby. The kids will ride in their Power Wheels and ram into each other just like the full-sized Derby.
Hollingshead, who spent an extensive amount of time working to prepare the fair for pedestrians to enjoy, thought that this tradition was something that everyone should enjoy.
“I think everyone young and old look forward to their county fair,” Hollingshead said. “You look forward to the amusement rides, the entertainment, the animals, seeing your neighbors at the fair, and of course the food. It’s just a memory that people like to have in the summer.”
Hollingshead worked alongside the Fair Association Council and the 4-H Fair Board to prepare for this week of entertainment and she gives a lot of credit to them.
“They have people that come in here months and months before the fair even kicks in,” Hollingshead said. “They work very hard to get the fair to where it is at so people can enjoy it throughout the first week of July. It means a lot to them since they volunteer their time to go out there and work for four or five months beforehand just to get this ready for everybody.”