Thousands of youth and adult exhibitors who show in the Missouri State Fair Swine Barn will notice major differences in the facility and show ring this year, as the first stage of improvements to the historic barn are complete.
Gone are the thick metal gates surrounding the north show ring and placing pens, and the wooden bleachers that were packed during championship drives. Private donations and two special projects have funded a new show ring system, placing pens, staging pens, renovated wash areas and ADA bleachers. Currently, the foundation is raising money and donations to complete renovations to the south show ring and office area.
“We wanted to showcase the effort, investment and achievement of our youth and the families who put in countless hours in their livestock and have devoted themselves to this,” said Wendy Faulconer, director of the Missouri State Fair Foundation, in the Sedalia Democrat. “We wanted the first time they step into the show ring to be special and to create that “wow” factor for them so they feel like they are showing at a national event or championship.”
In 2016, there were more than 1,700 4-H and FFA swine entries—three times any other Missouri State Fair livestock entry area. The investment also supports Missouri’s top 10 national ranking in various areas of the pork industry.
The project started with a $20,000 donation by the Randy Minnick Memorial Fund. Read more about the Minnicks in the Facebook post below.
To further support improvements at the Swine Barn, a commemorative "Legacy" T-shirt, designed by Foundation committee member Emily Curtis, is being sold during the fair. So far, those sales have raised more than $4,000.
When the wood bleachers, were taken down, a second idea was developed. “When we took the bleachers down, we salvaged the wood,” Faulconer explained. Twenty-six plaques were made in the shape of Missouri and are being auctioned off during the fair. Many of the purchasers are part of the Swine Barn family, she adds.
"It's very emotional," Faulconer says. “It’s very hard to explain how much heart and soul has gone into this. It’s not the building—it’s what it represents.” Click here to read the history of the Missouri Swine Barn, and see photos of the improvements.
Read more commentary about the Missouri State Fair renovations in "Coming Home."
The Swine Bard Dedication Service, Friday, Aug. 11, thanked the many supporters and exhibitors for their support. You can watch the archived video below.