As the Mesa County Fair approaches, Dixie Burmeister visited with some special guests, including an ambassador to this year's event.
4-H and Future Farmers of America, or FFA, have been focal points of county fairs ever since the first one. In fact, there are generations of families with a history of involvement with the clubs and the fair. Brody Klinglesmith has her grandmother Lo Ann to thank for starting it all in her family.
"I was eight years-old and my mother and my neighbor got me involved," explained Lo Ann Klinglesmith.
However when she entered 4-H, things were a little different for girls.
"Girls were not encouraged to have animals at that time. So I was in cooking and sewing and junior leadership," she said.
She loved all aspects of 4-H that taught her so much and gave her some traveling opportunities.
"We went to Denver and Pueblo...Those were big cities for us," Lo Ann recalled.
Soon she was getting her own children involved, including son Ladd.
"I started out when I was eight years old with steers, market beef, and did market beef all the way until I graduated from high school," he explained
He learned a lot of life's lessons, including how to handle saying goodbye to his animals at the county fair auctions, as well as how to handle the cash from those sales.
"I actually saved enough money with my 4-H projects to start putting myself through college," he said.
After he moved to Mesa County in 1993, he watched our county fair grow, and before he knew it he was thinking about giving his own children the 4-H and FFA opportunities his family gave him.
"We, you know, put it in front of them to see if they would be interested. And we got a couple of old mare horses and started down that road, and they really started enjoying it," Ladd recalled.
Ladd and Lo Ann feel family involvement makes it all the better.
"It's one of the main, important things about 4-H," Lo Ann explained. "It involves the whole family working as a unit."
Grandparents and parents are pleased to watch Brody as she prepares for her competitions, as well as fulfilling her duties as a Mesa County Fair ambassador.
"I am in competition with anybody that does horses, and that is some heavy competition," Brody explained. "There are some amazing riders with some amazing horses that come to the Mesa County Fair."
She, like her grandmother and dad, got involved at the age of eight, and is glad she did. She enjoys her projects both in and out of 4-H and FFA at the fair. It seems a couple of those projects are leading her towards a future career.
"I am in the veterinary science project, cause I am going to be a veterinarian," Brody said proudly. "I've got my heart set on it."
Brody says there is something for everyone at the Mesa County Fair.
"There's the little squealers which are so cute to watch. There are our contests that we're doing. There are the open class, and the grandstand acts and gazebo acts this year are really phenomenal. You have to come see them," she said.
The Mesa County Fair runs from July 19th thru the 23rd.
For more information on the Mesa County Fair, Click here