Take a moment back in time with me to the 2001 Oregon State Fair. In the sheep barn my mom, dad, and a slew of sheep friends running around getting ready for the Hampshire breeding show. You may be wondering why I am explaining this story to you, and it’s because, I was right there with them. In a front pack that was passed around from person to person was seven-month-old me. This was my earliest encounter with the State Fair. My experience remained relatively the same at fair for 17 years, creating a summer tradition for my family. However, this year I entered a whole new capacity serving as a state officer. Instead of exhibiting I was able to be part of the innerworkings that makes the Oregon State Fair a success every year. 

              Entering week one I was so excited to share my summer tradition with my team. Though I did get to enter the open show sheep ring for Supremes this year, being a part of fair looked completely different. This year I gained a new appreciation for all the people who make State Fair possible. Being an exhibitor, I never got to experience what went on behind the scenes at fair. This year I was able to experience and be a part of the prep, grunge, and thankless work that often goes unnoticed. This gave me a new appreciation for the efforts put forth by countless individuals who keep the fair running. Whether it be the work crews who set up panels, the advisors who made sure shows run smoothly, or the individuals who keep track of all the scores that came in; all these people put in time to allow for the success of others. Without these individuals state fair would not be possible.

In addition to this it was amazing to see the members and their families who support them. When you are in the showring it is easy to forget about the people who truly support and believe in you. Parents, friends, and advisors are all ringside supporting members as they show. This support comes in the form of show help, pit crews, and cheer teams. Watching all these roles play out made me appreciate the individuals who have done those same things in my life. By taking a step out of my normal fair role I was able to gain a new appreciation for the people who have both directly and indirectly supported me so that I could find success. As my team and I gear up to start our leadership tour, I have a new appreciation for the small actions that people do. Having a new perspective and outlook has opened my eyes for how grateful I can be for the small things in life.

Ellie Hanson’s flock of Southdowns in Supreme during the 2019 Oregon State Fair

With gratitude,

Ellie Hanson

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