The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

The Wisdom Of Barnyard Bruke: "Boozers Win A Victory For Boozing At The Warren County Fair!"

Greetings to everyone in Western Illinois.

Henderson County fair officials displayed good judgment, common sense, and much wisdom in not initiating a beer tent at the Stronghurst fair grounds. The same cannot be said of Warren County officials. Shame on them!

Cornelius Farkward dropped by the local coffee shop and informed the regional crowd of the beer tent at the Roseville fair. He said he read in Monmouth's Daily Review Atlas, on July 27, that fair board president, Steve Killey was quoted as stating "Adding the beer tent has been really helpful. We were looking for at least one day at the fair that had a party atmosphere." Hence beer and mud volleyball.

Teresa Schwass of Macomb played on a mud volleyball team from Danville, IA, it was reported by the Review Atlas. The team has several players who work for Monsanto. Rain kept the workers out of the fields Saturday, and the Roseville Fair's mud volleyball event got them out of work early Sunday, the paper echoed. Teresa Schwass was reported in the paper as having stated "We are here for the drinking and to get out of work."

Schwass joked about some of "The guys haven't been in the newspaper since they got arrested". Roseville's Emily Huston was quoted as having stated about her friends that "they are fun, just like farts in a skillet".

The paper quoted Dan Byers in stating correlation with a beer tent might help drive participation, Cornelius informed everyone. The paper, two days earlier reported on its front page that 4-H teaches responsibility and fellowship. "Apparently beer helps in that regard". Cornelius asked. In quoting Carol Wilcoxen, who has taken over organizing the 4-H activities at three county fairs, she stated "It's more than ribbons at the fair. The companionship with other people and the learning process are the greatest (aspects). (It's about) what they can learn and contribute to society and building friendships". Cornelius snipes, "Where better than in or near a beer tent"?

Sandy Bob sez that is very interesting of Ms. Wilcoxen. It is true that, as he recalls, 4-H helped people learn useful skills, serve their communities, and have fun together. The 4-H slogan was "Learn by Doing" back when he was a 4-H leader and Jim McCurdy and Curt Eisenmeyer were the extension agents.

He said the four H's, in the old days, stood for head, heart, hands, and health.

Members were to show their high ideals with their motto, Make The Best Better, and with this pledge:

I pledge

My head to clearer thinking,

My heart to greater loyalty,

My hands to larger service, and

My health to better living, for my club, my community, my country, and my world.

Well, sez Buster Jigs, what part of that pledge do you suppose fits in with the Boozers tent at the Warren County fair? Do you suppose it's the "head to clearer thinking", or "the heart to greater Loyalty"? Or, maybe the part of the pledge that sez "health to better living" for club, community, country and world? Watch'n folk come'n out of a beer tent all whopper-jawed sure ought'a teach young folk something.

After all, isn't life about having fun and enjoy'n ones self with a round of beer when ever and where ever one wants?

Well sez, Bill Jones, you fellers are a maken too big a deal of this. After all, 4-H was started around the turn of the century by folks who had not yet been enlightened to the benefits of drinking alcohol. Thats over 110 years of loose'n out on all the Fun of Boozing at the County Fair. Of course Warren countie's fair has not been going on for that long, but enough is enough already. It's time to lighten up and have some fun. In fact the 4-H pledge should have been changed years ago. It takes life way to serious.

All this business about project handbooks, leadership programs, workshops, summer camps, exhibitions, and becoming productive citizens apparently no longer has as much draw for young and old alike.

The best way to do that, and make money at the same time, is to have a beer tent. Why make a mountain out of a mole hill. Young folk has been drinking beer in Europe for ever.

The adults, as well as 4-H leaders, can show those young folk what and where real fun and citizenship is actually about-right there in Roseville on the fair grounds, just by peak'n inside the beer tent. Think of all they'll be learning. Why should us Americans allow tradition to permit Europe to out do us in the fun category.

Well, that little speech of Bill Jones was not well received by the rest of the boys in the coffee shop that morn'in.

It's not that they was necessarily against drink'n liquor, per se, it's just that they didn't feel liquor belonged on the fair grounds, negatively influencing 4-H young folk, 9 years old and there abouts.

Fact of the matter is, most of the boys spoke well of all the 4-H, and it's leadership, has accomplished over the years. They all had participated at one time or another, and some in leadership positions.

Braggin on being arrested and gett'n out of work didn't trip their triggers. And, swelling the ranks of attendance by liquor now and perhaps including gambling later, for even a better draw, seemed to the boys as a dead end road, eventually.

Somehow to them, the party atmosphere of "snakeyed boozing adults" and "just of age" young folk coming out of a beer tent three sheets to th' wind to outrageously cheer on the event of their special interest, didn't seem a good choice either.

Sandy Bob told of something he experienced years ago, in the very early 1970's, whilst he lived in Warren County and volunteered with the Prime Beef Festival at Monmouth, Illinois. The Prime Beef Festival committee had a trailer that the board members, and other festival workers would gather and coordinate events during the Festival and on festival grounds.

Eventually alcohol started showing up inside the trailer. During the Presidency of "Bob Riley" (now deceased) of Monmouth Implement and Clarence Neff fame, one of the prominent business men and volunteer workers, got his insides pretty well oiled up.

In blind sighted boldness he then proceeded to practice obnoxious behavior to Festival participants young and old alike. It was completely embarrassing and shameful to everyone included.

Bob Riley, John Moburg and leaders of the festival put a stop to drinking alcohol in the trailer from that time on. Most of the board indulged in alcohol moderately themselves according to the occasion.

However one person with a drinking problem was shameful trouble for everyone.

The local businessman, with the drinking problem, never came back to help at the festival. In fact, he died a few short years later of kidney failure.

The festival continued on with plenty of sober volunteers and helpers, which was a compliment to their community minded spirit. Sandy Bob sez that was nearly 40 years ago and the occasion still rings solid in his mind as a bad example for young folk.

It only took one individual, one night, to display the merits of alcohol around youngn's. Sandy wonders what that one event, that bold occasion strengthened by alcohol, will be at the Warren County fair? It is inevitable to happen some time or another.

Will it be a tragic auto accident filled with young folk and children leaving the fair grounds? Either the driver of the young folk is drunk or the auto is hit by another drunken driver.

Watch the fair board members disappear for liability protection when that happens. The beer tent will not look like so much fun if'n that happens. How will fair participants and fair attendance be affected in future years.

Or, will it simply be obnoxious behavior in front of impressionable young folk, ruining their memory of a good time at the fair and leave'n emotional scars for years to come.

Who covers liability? Will added insurance costs add to the profitability of the fair?

How will the loss of a loved one be explained to the distraught parent or guardian, that sent their child to the fair to "Make the Best Better" thru 4-H and came back learning how to drink beer, or worse, in a body bag.

All for the sake of "make'n a quick buck" and "have'n some real modern fun". The good is made to be bad and the bad is made to be good.

The boys and Sandy Bob sez "Shame on you Bill Riechow and the Warren County board for allowing the possibility for this tragedy to happen.

"Shame on you Steve Killey and the Warren County Fair board for taking away the value and tradition of the Warren County fair and sneaking it into reality in the manner you did.

"Shame on you Carol Wilcoxen for your discreditable part in all of this.

"Shame on you local Warren County residents for allowing this dishonorable tent to happen without even so much as a comment.

They are disappointed in the whole lot of you. You have made sobriety to look as a detriment to fun, by your actions.

The boys fear next year will be Henderson Counties turn at the beer tent. It will be interesting to see.

Well, sez Jasper Jenx, I can tell you one thing. I'm not sure this is the first for drunks at the fair. When he showed his prized hog at that very fair, so many years ago, it came in last place. "It was the best hog I ever had," sez Jasper. His Pa, Ma, Grandma and Grandpa really bragged on it. Jasper now thinks that judge must have been drunk to not have noticed and missed the opportunity to put it in first place. He now feels that judge "wuz drunker'n a coon on stump likker".

Maybe that'll be a good excuse for "last place finishers" at the Warren County Fair in the future.

Catch ya Later

Barnyard Bruke