4-H parents love to spend Father’s Day at the fair
GREENFIELD – Jim Bishop will spend Father’s Day the best way he knows how – scrambling between the barns at the Hancock County Fairgrounds, watching his kids show off their animals at the Hancock County 4-H Fair.
It’s the perfect day for Bishop, who grew up showing animals in northern Indiana as a 4-H kid.
“When we heard that the fair was going to end this year, it reminded me that some of my best family memories were the times we spent at the fair,” said Bishop, who lives on the north side of Greenfield. with his wife, Nicole, and their five children.
All five are active in 4-H and get a helping hand from Dad when it comes to doing their 4-H projects and preparing their cattle every year.
“He was the one who pushed us to show animals and even helped us build a barn for each of them,” said his eldest daughter, Claire, 16.
He taught them how to raise rabbits, how to properly walk a pig, even how to exercise a goat by letting it run on a treadmill, his 12-year-old son Everett said.
Bishop is there for the behind-the-scenes prep work as well as the cattle shows, and was all smiles from the audience when Claire was crowned a Member of the Queen’s Court in the 4-H Queen’s Pageant on June 12.
“Whatever we do for 4-H, he’s taught and supported us all the way,” she said.
Eric Schilling is another dedicated 4-H dad who can’t wait to spend this Father’s Day at the fair.
He loves teaching his two sons – Luke, 14, and Lincoln, 9 – how to show pigs and do 4-H projects, just like his dad taught him when he was a kid growing up in Nebraska.
“There aren’t a lot of activities like 4-H that teach kids about responsibility,” said Schilling, who lives in Wilkinson with his wife, Natalie, and their boys.
“It was a fun thing for our family to do together. He teaches children to work hard, set goals and be responsible. It was fun watching them grow up, ”he said.
Luke said it was great that his father was helping him and his brother in their family’s barn, where they raise their pigs. “He helps me with just about everything in the barn, and he’s always very understanding when me or my brother gets messed up. It’s good to know that everything doesn’t have to be perfect, ”he said.
Mike Long has shown the same patience with his two daughters as he has helped them with their 4-H endeavors for the past 11 years.
He’s been an unwavering presence as his daughters Megan, 19, and Erica, 18, created projects, showed cattle, and entered the 4-H Queen Contest. He was there this year to watch Megan, the princess of last year’s 4-H fair, place a crown on her sister Erica, a member of the Queen’s court this year.
“For us, 4-H is a family affair,” said Long, who lives in Greenfield with his wife, Stephanie, and their daughters.
Whether it’s milking cows or watching tiny rabbits being born in their garage, 4-H activities have always been a great bonding activity over the years, he said.
“Preparing for the show is something we have always done as a family. It was something we would be eager to do during the school holidays, ”he said.
Erica enlisted the help of her father when she chose to learn the art of woodworking for a project last year.
Together, the father and daughter – both new to woodworking – pored over YouTube videos and instructional guides, learning how to build a sofa table with a “living edge” of bark on the sides.
“We don’t have a fancy workshop or the best tools or anything, but I think that’s what made it so special, because we had to adapt and find the best way to do things.” said Erica.
Better yet, the wood used in the sofa table and end tables they built was made from a tree from his great-grandfather’s farm.
The project went so well that she got her father’s help to create a set of matching end tables to complete the table this year.
Megan remembers her dad helping with the 4-H posters when she was little and teaching her how to show dairy cows, which was a learning experience for both of them.
“He helped me prepare for a show, even though he didn’t know what he was doing and had to learn too. He taught me to feed them, wash them and walk them, ”she recalls.
It was her mother who helped her the most when she started sewing, but her father was always there, giving her comments and advice. When she prepared for the Queen’s contest, he helped her prepare for her interview. “It helped me be more confident,” she said.
Erica said that although she and her sister need less help now that they’re older, their dad has always been there to teach them new things.
“I’ve learned so much and know so much that I wouldn’t have known if he hadn’t helped me. It’s great to always have him by my side, ”she said.
Claire Bishop feels the same for her father.
“He’s always there to support us and encourage us, and it’s really cool because not many people are going to go out in the barn and get dirty for someone they love,” she said.
Her brother, Everett, said some of their best family time was spent looking after their pets together.
“There were a lot of fun times in the barn when we have fun, we spray each other with a hose, we have fun,” he said.
This Father’s Day, the family will be sitting in lawn chairs around their animal enclosures at the 4-H Fairgrounds, hanging out between barns while the kids show off rabbits and pigs.
Claire said they would celebrate the holidays with a simmered meal her mother will bring, followed by milkshakes from the dairy barn between shows.
“It’s really cool because we can celebrate our dad while doing what he’s most proud to see us do,” Claire said. “He’s done so much for all of us in different ways so it’s cool that we can spend Father’s Day doing something he loves.”
His father said he didn’t want it any other way.
A calendar of events for the Hancock County 4-H Fair, which kicked off Friday, can be found on page A5.