Bob Sunquist of Red Oak came to the Plymouth County Fair to judge livestock; but, while he was here he gained a few opinions about the fair in general and the 4-H exhibitors in particular.
"You've got a tremendous fair, really, I can't say anything negative about it. It's an awesome fair. People probably don't realize how good it is. If people get in the truck with me and ride around a bit, they'd see," said Sunquist who has judged in 97 Iowa counties and at least nine Midwest states over the last 30 years.
"Plymouth County is one of the best ones (fairs) in the state of Iowa," Sunquist said.
"It's very impressive when you walk in up there," he said. "People probably don't think about it but the ticket takers right there at the gate, if they're polite that gives you a good feeling and they were very, very polite. They didn't even know I was a cattle judge or anything. I just gave them a ticket and a lady at the said said, 'I see you're from out of county and I want to welcome you to our fair.'"
Politeness is also a trait he saw in the exhibitors in the ring.
"Up there in Plymouth County, the kids were very polite and courteous. Very outgoing. That's what makes a fun show as far as I'm concerned."
While judging market beef, Sunquist entertained the crowds with his conversations with 4-H exhibitors, talking about their animals and what they learned in 4-H.
He does that for a reason beyond entertainment, however.
"I'm hired to judge the cattle but I do that (talk with the exhibitors) because there's only going to be one at the top of the line. I want all the kids to know I care about them, no matter where they stand.
"When I was in 4-H, I stood down at the end a lot. So, I guess you can learn just as much at the bottom of the class if you keep your eyes and your ears open, and look and see what it takes to be at the top of the class," he said.
With that philosophy in mind, he gives comments "down to the last calf because I want that kid going out to have as much of my time. All the calves have positive points, too. You know the kids need to go out of the ring feeling good about themselves and their project."
At the market beef competition, Sunquist said it takes three things to make a successful show: facility and crew, quality of cattle and quality of kids.
Plymouth County, he said, excels in all three areas.