Many exhibitors have at least one favorite show they attend each year. For me, my favorite show isn’t even one in which my family has ever exhibited. My favorite week of the entire year is the McDonough County 4-H Fair in Macomb, Illinois. From the general projects and the 4-H staff to the livestock shows and parents, this show seems to blow my socks off every year!
The general project division is huge! Almost every livestock kid has at least one general project. When I was in 4-H, I signed up for project after project after project, but it wasn’t until I was nearing the end of my career that I realized those projects meant bringing an entry to the fair. There is no disconnect between the livestock kids and the general project kids at McDonough county. I love seeing how excited the kids are for each other for having a winning project.
My favorite species is the pig show because Vicki Engnell is the most caring 4-H superintendent. At the beginning of the show, she gathers the exhibitors together and introduces them to the judge. Halfway through the show, she asks each exhibitor to get on the microphone to introduce themselves to the audience with their name, age, and how many years in 4-H. She then proceeds to talk about any milestones and achievements that the kids have earned throughout the year in 4-H or school and FFA. She cares about these kids as if they were her own and strives to make each of them feel important and successful.
The aspect of this week that impresses me the most is the kids. The sportsmanship in this county is incomparable to anything I’ve ever seen. When someone wins, it seems like everyone congratulates them and are genuinely happy for them. If someone is struggling or needing help, a parent or another exhibitor is always right there to lend a helping hand. The parents are also a big supporter of the fair. The amount of work they put in to the shows, the grounds, and the livestock auction is incredible.
As stockman, the ultimate reason we enjoy stock shows are not the actual stock but what differentiates them is the community. We enjoy being around good, supportive, encouraging people that always push us to be better than we were before. All of this can be found in Macomb, Illinois during the 4-H fair. Congratulations to all exhibitors this year! We will see ya next year!
Greg Kirlin resides on his family farming operation in west central Illinois and is a Feed Sales
Representative and Marketing Specialist for a local feed & grain company, Dearwester Grain
Services. He uses his passion for livestock production to help local producers reach their
goals in both commercial and show stock settings. His brother and he both have a passion
for raising and exhibiting purebred Simmental cattle.
Greg lives by a quote from Grant Cardone which states “Your greatness is limited only by the investments you
make in yourself.” Keeping this quote close, Greg lives each day reaching for success and working towards
goals set daily. He hopes to challenge readers to create their own success through passion, determination, and