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September 20, 2009

Palouse Empire Fair

Every September, for the past 23 years, Dr. McGraw has spent the week and weekend after Labor Day out at the Palouse Empire Fair. At first glance, this may seem like a dream job, but after you found out about the hours of service you might think otherwise. Dr. McGraw is on the fairgrounds from about 6:30 AM until the barns close at 10PM, but as you can see, Dr. McGraw takes this all in stride.

Most of the years that Dr. McGraw has served as the fair Veterinarian, he has also had children at the fair showing one animal or another: pigs, horses, bottle calves, sheep, and the occasional chicken. This year it was a black bummer lamb, and a beautiful red and white short-horn bottle calf.

Official duties for the fair Veterinarian include: checking in animals as they arrive at the fair to make sure they are healthy and free of infectious diseases, treating show animals that get sick while at the fair, and occasionally treating rodeo stock or rodeo contestant animals. Unofficial duties include: putting chicken eggs in the rabbit cages (much to the surprise of people in the rabbit barn), hiding prize ribbons where 4-H or FFA contestants cannot reach them (not very amusing to some people), and putting goose eggs in the pigeon cages (poor, poor pigeons!). Dr. McGraw can also be seen helping out in any barn that needs an extra hand, visiting people he only sees yearly at the fair, and perusing exhibits in the buildings.

The last day of the fair, Dr. McGraw organizes the "Ol' Fogies Fitting and Showing Contest." This is the 17th year he has served as the official organizer. The first year, the prize for winning the "Ol' Fogies" contest was a political campaign button with a pig's tail attached (never fear, the poor pig lost it's tail when another pig bit it off). The prize is currently an old women's bowling trophy. Needless to say, all the "ol' fogies" have a good time at the showing contest.

This year, the weather was fine and most of the animals were healthy at the fair. We like it that way. See you at the Palouse Empire Fair in 2010!