Getting ready for next week’s Marion County Fair is not a big deal for Geis sisters Lauren and Lisa of Durham. That is because they have been working with their horses, dogs, cattle, sheep, and pigs all year long already. But there is something special about the fair that they look forward to with pleasure.
“Going to the Marion County Fair is like having a big reunion with all our friends,” Lauren Geis, 17, said. “We get to hang out all week, get up early, go to bed late, have water fights with our friends, and just a lot of fun.”
Having fun at the fair is a nice reward for the Geis girls and many other 4-H families and children who work long hours during the summer to prepare projects for exhibition.
“There are not a lot of last-minute things to do because we have been working a long time with our animals,” Lauren said. “We got our heifers last fall, our lambs and pigs in the spring, and we’ve been riding these horses every day for several years.”
The Geis sisters get up early every morning to put their horses through their paces at 6 a.m. to beat the heat. Sometimes they ride late at night as well. They don’t mind the long hours and hot work because the thrill of achievement keeps them going.
Lauren is especially excited to show her 3-year-old, self-trained paint horse at the county fair this year.
“I already qualified for state with him at the district horse show July 6,” she said. “Lisa and I both qualified in five events for the state horse show so we are very excited about that.”
In addition to showing several different horses in western pleasure, horsemanship, barrel racing, trail, and showmanship classes, Lauren and Lisa Geis have had the pleasure of mentoring a younger 4-H horse project member, Kara Riffel.
“We’ve really enjoyed helping Kara get started, and she is using one of Lisa’s retired horses,” Lauren said. “We showed together with her at the Tri-County Fair last week and it was just a lot of fun.”
Geis’s enthusiasm carries over despite the hard work of caring for pigs, lambs, cattle, and the horses on a daily basis.
“We wash our heifers every day and put them in the barn under turbo fans so they will get a nice hair coat,” she said. “We spoil our animals rotten, but it is a lot of fun and the reward is doing well at the fairs.”