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Overgard mans post at poultry, rabbit barn

Fifty years at the fair

Aug 2, 2013 - By Randy Tucker, Staff Writer

Overgard mans post at poultry, rabbit barn

John F. Kennedy was president when Cerella Overgard became a 4-H leader.

Half a century later, she remains a familiar face at the Fremont County Fair.

Overgard has served as the superintendent of the poultry and rabbit barn at the annual county event for the last 27 years.

"When my daughter LeeRee started in 4-H in 1963, I became a leader," Overgard said.

Overgard began working at the fair in the dairy barn and has witnessed a lot of change over the years as the event evolved.

"The dairy barn is now the swine barn," Overgard said. "Originally we had dairy cows, goats and chickens all in one place."

A call at 11 p.m. during a fair board meeting back in 1986 led to Overgard's long career in the poultry and rabbit barn.

"The previous year they had problems with three superintendents," Overgard said. "The board said 'Cerella is the only person that can get along with all these people,' and I've been here ever since."

The poultry exhibit has grown

substantially from 36 chickens in the open class in 1986 to 260 chickens, geese, ducks and guineas this year.

The barn containing the rabbits and poultry is the most serene of the fair, with a very different atmosphere from the hectic pace and din of the sheep, cattle, swine and equine venues.

A trip though the caged exhibits reveals a bewildering variety of colorful birds with various levels of exotic plumage. Hens and roosters range from the classic lines of the leghorns and Rhode Island Reds to the fluffy extremes of "bad hair day chicks" in the Laced Polish breed.

Children often are intrigued to discover eggs in the cages of the laying hens with added excitement when an Araucana lays a blue-green "Easter egg."

The rabbits have as much variety as the birds, with color, size and ear style creating an entertaining display.

Overgard takes the annual challenge of managing the fair with a smile.

"I enjoy working with the kids," she said. "How long I do it depends on my health."

With a second generation of poultry and rabbit showman displaying their birds and animals it's become a labor of love for Overgard.

Twenty-seven years ago "I said I'd take it for a year, and that year isn't up yet," she said.

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