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Cruising NWKS: 4-H'ers learn to keep their cool





STOCKTON -- Emily Conyac had had quite the week already Wednesday at the Rooks County Fair, and she hadn't even entered the show ring for the beef show.

The longtime 4-H'er's pig had jumped a gate during the swine show, and her steer had broken a chute in preparations for the beef show.

"Her steer did this," little brother Gage Conyac, 11, said while standing on top of the broken boards in what was left of the chute.

And all Emily Conyac, 13, could do was roll her eyes at the chain of events that transpired during the last fair in northwest Kansas this summer.

The 133rd annual Rooks County Fair in Stockton wrapped up the slate of fairs in northwest Kansas with buildings full of exhibits and plenty of entertainment for fair-goers during a week full of events.

Conyac said working with pigs always has been easier for her than working with cattle, but even this year, that didn't work in her favor.

"You just have to calm down and get them calm," Conyac said when an animal misbehaves in the show ring.

That sense of calm is something Evan Bebb might have needed last week as his oldest children prepared their 4-H projects for the fair.

"You're always doing something last minute," the Plainville dad of four said.

And if he has anything to say about it, he'll be doing double those last-minute projects in the future as his youngest two children age into the 4-H program.

For now, though, they're content to "ride rides and look at the animals," Bebb said.

And that's exactly why Kaylene Mongeau returned to her hometown fair this year, sharing it with her mother, Karleen Hrabe of Plainville, and two children and six grandchildren from Texas.

"They've never taken the kids to the fair before," Mongeau said of her children.

Mongeau grew up in Rooks County and was excited to watch as her grandchildren took in the sights and sounds of the fair.

"It's still fun now," Mongeau said.

Hrabe said the races -- this year that included motorcycle and stock car races -- always have been a popular staple of the mid-August fair. And family time continues to be one of the main events.

"It's something you do every year," Hrabe said. "We came to the fair every day with the kids. Tradition kind of."