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Calaveras County Fair Numbers Jump

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Great weather and great entertainment are credited for making this Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee one of the most successful in recent years.

Over the four-day run, 40,068 people came through the gates, up 5.1 percent from last year, Fair Manager Buck King said. “I think the good weather had an awful lot to do with it,” King said.

While numbers were down slightly Thursday and Friday, they swelled Saturday, boosting attendance by more than 30 percent compared to the same day last year. Rising country music star Darryl Worley gets the credit for that. “Worley put on a hell of a show,” King said, noting crowds were over 10,000 that night.

The singer´s patriotic program included a pledge to the flag, a salute to Calaveras County emergency service officers, and a performance of his hit, “Have you Forgotten.”

When King left the fairgrounds at 11:30 that night, he said Worley was still outside his bus signing autographs. The traditional Junior Livestock Auction also benefited from a generous crowd that bid a total of $394,672.94 for young people´s exhibits. “It´s probably our highest ever,” Exhibits Representative Laurie Gianinni said.

Poultry exhibits were eliminated this year over concerns of Exotic Newcastle Disease, but overall proceeds were still up $15,636 from last year with 67 fewer exhibitors.

What´s behind the auction´s continued success? “People are looking for something really good to do,” Gianinni said. One of those who had a good time at the fair was Casey Overmier, whose steer was judged Reserve Champion and FFA Champion.

This was the Calaveras High School sophomore´s seventh year as an exhibitor.

While parting with the steer at auction can still be emotional, Overmier said it all depends on the attitude of the animal. “With him I´m not worried about it at all,” she said. “He´s something of an idiot.”

Other livestock winners were:

Steers: Kaley Nichols, Tuolumne County Beef, Supreme Champion; Kelsey Landreth, Angelus Ranus 4-H, 4-H Champion; Sara Overmier, Clinton Grange, FFA Reserve Champion.

Hogs: Rosalee Callahan, Bret Harte FFA, Supreme Champion and FFA Champion; Jessica Zumbach, Bret Harte FFA, Reserve Champion and FFA Reserve Champion; Kristen Mergl, Murphys 4-H, 4-H Champion; Brandon Inks, Angelus Ranus 4-H, 4-H Re-serve Champion.

Meat Pen (rabbits): Courtney Melenchek, Murphys 4-H, Supreme Champion and 4-H Champion; Marianne Mendoza, Calaveras FFA, FFA Champion.

Lambs: Kevin Inks, Bret Harte FFA, Supreme Champion and FFA Champion; Codi Sue Mills, Angelus Ranus 4-H, Reserve Supreme Champion and 4-H Champion; Emmelynn Rose King, Bret Harte FFA, FFA Reserve Champion; Alissa Folendorf, Angelus Ranus 4-H, 4-H Reserve Champion.

Goats: Antonio Orozco, Angelus Ranus 4-H, Supreme Champion and 4-H Champion; Grant Herrick, Angelus Ranus 4-H, Reserve Supreme Champion and 4-H Reserve Champion; Rebecca Proctor, Calaveras FFA, FFA Champion.

King is resigning this month, and was pleased to be going out on such a positive note. There was only one way it could have been better, but even then, King had a practical philosophy about the matter.

“It´s too bad they couldn´t break the world´s (frog jump) record,” he noted. “But then that would have cost me $5,000 (in prize money).”

Story By Craig Koscho

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