The Washington County Fair is a family-oriented event - something that was especially evident in this year's livestock competitions.
Brothers Zach and Andrew Henthorn of Fleming were the grand and reserve champions in the market beef category, while Lower Salem sisters Jessica and Josie White took those honors in the goat competition.
"We're very competitive," said Zach Henthorn, 17. "I hate to lose more than I love to win."
EVAN BEVINS The Marietta Times
Zach Henthorn, left, tries to get the attention of his grand champion market beef steer prior to its auction Tuesday at the Washington County Fair’s large animal sale. His brother, Andrew, right, won reserve champion honors. BELOW: A demolition derby contestant gets help to extricate his vehicle from the mud Tuesday at the Washington County Fairgrounds.
Zach was happy for his brother though, and Andrew, 16, said the same - even if he would have preferred to come out on top.
"I've never won before, so it was exciting to win here," Andrew said.
Zach won a national championship at the American Royal Junior Simmental Show in Kansas City last fall, but he said collecting his first local title was special too.
By the numbers
2012 Washington County Fair attendance estimates:
- Saturday - 5,700.
- Sunday - 6,100.
- Monday - 5,000.
- Tuesday - not available.
Animal sale totals:
- Small animal sale - $60,435.
- Large animal sale - $156,258.96.
Source: Washington County Fair Board.
"It's still exciting to win when your friends and family can come watch," he said.
The brothers' steers were auctioned for $4,535.30 and $3,983.50, respectively, during Tuesday's large animal sale, which, along with the Demolition Derby, marked the close of the four-day county fair.
Rain fell on the fair again this year but did not have the same impact on attendance as it did in 2011, when less than 1,000 people attended on Monday and the fair was closed Tuesday. Total attendance barely topped 12,000 last year, while nearly 17,000 came through the gate from Saturday to Monday this year, with Tuesday still to be counted.
Last year's washout dealt a financial blow to the fair, but fair board President Frank Tucker said there was a chance this year's event could break even.
"It's still not as good as it needs to be, but what are you going to do?" he said. "It's been good for the kids, that's the main thing."
Rain caused the cancellation of Sunday's harness racing and put a stop to many events in Monday's junior fair horse show, leading organizers to improvise.
"They had a horseless horse show," said fair board director Jeremy Barth. "Instead of the kids riding their horses (through the obstacle course), they ran the course.
"Some of those girls and boys were covered in mud, head to toe," he said.
Some of the truck and tractor pull events were rained out as well, and vendors on Tuesday said the weather took a bite out of their business.
"It's like last year - it was wet and it's been slow," said Odessa, Fla., resident Herbert Heap, owner of Herb's Sausage. "You can't help it. You can't fight Mother Nature."
Nonetheless, Heap said he enjoyed his time at the fair.
"It still reminds me of the old-time fairs," he said.
Despite the intermittent rain, business was better this year than last for the Washington County Black and White Holstein Club's ice cream and milk stand outside the multipurpose arena, said club member Jeni Bauerbach.
"There were a couple of days (last year) that we just had to close down because it was so rainy," she said.
Bauerbach noted the proceeds from the booth benefit youth by going toward premiums for the club's annual show during the fair.
The weather cooperated Tuesday afternoon and evening, when some residents made their first trip to the fair this year.
It was the first trip ever for Walker, W.Va., resident Kayla Roberts, who brought her children, ages 4 and 1, to try the rides on the midway - and she also found one for herself.
"I had to ride the mechanical bull," she said. "It was really hard. I lasted about five seconds."
Although the rain kept him away other days, Parkersburg resident Ron Rinehart, 71, attended the fair Tuesday.
"I've been coming here since I was 15, and I'm older than the hills," he laughed.
The Demolition Derby attracted many spectators. Among them was 14-year-old Marietta resident Laura Sarringhausen, whose father, Bill, was a competitor. Laura said she enjoys watching the event, but it also makes her nervous.
"I'm just afraid he's going to get hurt," she said.
The large animal sale brought in more than $156,000 from bidders Tuesday, including $637.50 for Waterford resident Joseph Pugh's grand champion lamb at $5.10 a pound.
"I was shocked. I didn't think I was going to win," he said.
Pugh said it took a lot of hard work to raise his lamb, but that paid off Tuesday.
His animal was bought by Jay Pottmeyer of Belpre-based EDI, which purchases multiple animals at local fairs each year.
"It's good for the community," Pottmeyer said. "Most of the kids use it for college money or their education."
The reserve champion was raised by Cole Welch of Little Hocking and sold for $791, $7 a pound, to Leslie Equipment.
Clayton Lang of Churchtown had the grand champion dairy feeder steer, which sold for $2.35 a pound for a total of $1,499.30. Reserve champion Mallory Waggoner of Beverly saw her steer sell for $1,453.60, $2.30 a pound.
RC and Sons Construction purchased Zach Henthorn's grand champion market beef steer for $3.41 a pound, while The Laminate Shop and McDonald's of Marietta bought Andrew Henthorn's for $3.10 a pound.
Monday's small animal sale brought in more than $60,000. Jessica White's grand champion goat was auctioned for a record $1,600, while her sister Josie's went for $1,050. Both animals were bought by Carver's Electric, Plumbing and Heating.
"We both want each other to win, so it's more of rooting each other on" than a competition between them, said Jessica, 16.
Complete sale and other fair results will appear in upcoming editions of The Marietta Times.