Celebrities wrangled into fair contest

Staff writer

Eight ragtag teams of county luminaries will butt heads at Marion County Fair, starting July 26, by attempting to fill buckets with as much goat’s milk as the tribe will allow.

Event coordinator Kelli Olson wished she had a tape recording of all the phone conversations she has had with contestants.

“We’re inviting prominent people from around the county,” Olson said Friday. “I was about on the ground laughing when I was talking to some of them.”

Teams will have three members on their roster and lineups were selected by profession, Olson said. County commissioners, mayors, law enforcement, school officials, emergency medical service workers, former 4H queens, and farmers will fill seven bracket slots. The eighth team has yet to be determined.

“It’s head-to-head single elimination tournament style play,” she said. “There is a preset time limit. Most milk in the bucket wins the round.”

With local celebrity and social media parody artist Derek Klingenberg on their team, the farmers may have an occupational advantage.

However, no contestant will milk his or her own goats or goats they may have met online.

To quell any concern about the volume of milk goats will donate during the competition, Olson noted a fresh goat would be plucked from a tribe of 14 each round.

Breeds like the myotonic or “fainting goat” could make competition more interesting if the crowd should get too loud and cause a goat to live up to its name.

Furthermore, several contestants have never milked goats before.

Hillsboro EMS and Goessel first response team member Sue Watkins said her other claim to county fame is her reputation as a prankster. She fancies herself a toilet paper exterior decorator and though she has never milked a goat, let alone any animal, she has received some useful tips from her friends.

“You have to pinch the udder between your thumb and your hand,” Watkins said. “I’ve been practicing on my hand. Another friend told me to make sure there are four things underneath instead of just one.”

Although she grew up on a dairy farm, Hillsboro mayor Delores Dalke is still concerned about her goat milking skills and hopes to find a goat on which to practice.

“We had the cows on electric milkers and I did learn how to strip them [ring the remainder of milk out of a cow’s udder],” Dalke said. “But I was a little girl then and that was a long time ago.”

Commissioner Chairman Roger Fleming looks forward to the contest as another highlight of his time and service on county commission.

“I haven’t milked a cow in 56 years and I’ve never milked a goat but it sounded like fun, so I thought what the heck,” Fleming said. “I’m good under pressure. I’m going to keep Vaseline on my hands.”

Fleming is also his team’s captain. He fears he might get a bucket poured over his head should his team emerge victorious.

Commissioner Dan Holub doesn’t expect to set any world records but he does hopes to charm goats with his people skills.

“I saw it done in a movie; that’s it,” Holub said. “And I’m sure going to make sure nobody tries to slip me a billy-goat.”

Teams were encouraged to dress according to the fair’s “Farmer Style” theme, Olson said. The event is meant to help promote local dairies. It starts after the parade around 11a.m. July 26 in the pavilion at the fairgrounds in Hillsboro.

 

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