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County fair's rule on showing animals punishes baseball team

Jul 25, 2014 - Dianna K. Stanley, Buffalo


Riverton's 13-14-year-old Babe Ruth baseball team won the state championship July 19 in Torrington. This qualifies them to go to regionals in Montana. I am the grandmother of a team member.

A problem arises because regionals are the same time as the county fair. There is no way the boys can be at both places.

Three of the players are in 4-H. In the past it was allowed that someone besides the owner could show an animal at the fair if the owner couldn't. The fair changed that and told the coaches that if the owner can't show the animals, then the animals can't be sold at the 4-H auction.

The boys have worked very hard on both 4-H and baseball. Most of the team has practiced baseball since February. These boys are very good kids. They aren't out causing trouble, just playing ball and doing 4-H.

Going to regionals is probably a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for these kids. Who knows, they could even go to nationals. Wouldn't that be something that Riverton could be proud of? Getting to regionals is great, and Riverton should be proud.

On Monday the fair board voted against the boys. I would hope that this rule could be changed. Right now these great kids are being punished for being great kids. They shouldn't have to choose between showing their animals to be able to sell them for their money for the year, and going to regionals in their sport. They have worked very hard to get there. They don't get much financial support. They are very discouraged over this. The team can't afford to lose these three 4-H members. They are a team.

If the county fair truly supports youth as it claims to do, then it should not force these kids to choose between a possible once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and animals they have spent close to a year caring for and spending money on. They have no control over the way Babe Ruth International baseball schedules tournaments, or on the county fair schedule. They need all the help we can give them.

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