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Rains flood tractor pulls | News, Sports, Jobs

Staff photo / R. Michael Semple Sofia Meadors, 13, of Champion, a Rogue Riders 4-H club member, gives her horse Goldie, a 23-year-old female Haflinger horse, a kiss last week at the Trumbull County Fair. Today is the last day of the 175th annual event.

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BAZETTA — Saturday’s main events at the Trumbull County Fair, the truck and tractor pulls, were canceled Saturday afternoon after the promoter and fair board directors determined that the track was too wet.

The track needed to be drier for the vehicles to get enough traction and the vehicles involved are “big dollar,” so conditions need to be right, said Steve Burbach, one of the fair board directors.

The weather forecast called for dry conditions in the early afternoon Saturday, so the promoter and board pushed back the 2:30 pm start time a bit and hoped the rain would stop.

But when it didn’t stop by 3:30 pm, the decision was made to cancel it, Burbach said.

“It breaks my heart after COVID,” Burbach said. About 100 people in the grandstands were prepared to watch the events when the announcement was made.

The Trumbull County Fair was not held last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tuesday through Thursday were big days at the fair, said Toni Dunbar, a fair board director. But 5 inches of rain Friday and early Saturday caused problems in certain areas of the fairgrounds.

Dunbar said one change made to help with parking was to allow attendees to park on the track starting Saturday, Dunbar said. That will continue today, the fair’s final day, when the weather is expected to be much better, she said.

Joe Turon of West Farmington, an adviser to the Cows R Us Dairy Club, said he does not think the rain made much difference to 4-H members showing animals. In fact, it seemed to provide a memorable experience.

“The water was up to the cows,” Turon said of a low spot between the barns that filled up with a great deal of water Friday.

“The Clover Buds were sitting in the water splashing around, playing catch in the water,” he said of 4-H members 7 to 9 years old. “Everybody was making the best of it.”

The livestock sale Saturday morning was a huge success for the 4-H members, Burbach said, with the grand champion steer selling for $19 per pound, four times the price of the grand champion steer in 2019 during the last fair.

“The kids did very well. They are very happy,” he said.

Elsewhere in the fairgrounds, eight grownups attended a 4-H reunion, which has been held one other time since 1990.

Kevin Trumbull, who lived in Fowler when he was in 4-H in the late 1980s and showed dairy cows at the fair, lives in Champion now.

“We just tried to have as much fun as we could and learn the responsibility of taking care of the animals,” he said. “I learned a lot about life.”

His son, Matt Trumbull, is showing animals at the fair this year.

Kevin was the 4-H king in 1990. Wendy Butler-Mafuz, who also attended the 4-H reunion, was the 4-H queen that year. She lived in Johnston, showed beef cattle and lives in Alexandria, Va., now.

One of the fun things she remembers about times at the Trumbull CountyFair when she as a kid was a bale toss, which involved throwing a bale of hay as far as you could.

Butler-Mafuz and fellow alumnus Bob Meeker of Cleveland said the rains that came Friday and Saturday did not strike them as unusual.

“Whenever it would rain, which was every year, the rain would come down like a deluge, and we would have to take the big brooms and push the water out of the barns while it was coming down,” Butler-Mafuz said.

“It seems like they have done a better job with the drainage now” because the water dissipated from the fairgrounds better this week.

“We’re all wearing boots, sandals. We handled it, and it was about our animals and shows and what we needed to do and we never let it stop us,” said 4-H alumnus Ginny Eltman, who lived in Vienna as a kid but now lives in Howland.

“The mud and the rain and everything else, we might complain about it, but we miss it terribly, even years afterwards,” Eltman said.

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