Ottawa Co. Jr. fair showcases youths’ passion, commitment

Yaneek Smith

        It’s been said that one of the reasons the Ottawa County Fair exists is because of the junior fair. The junior fair is a chance for kids to show their animals -- pigs, turkeys and chickens, among others -- and be rewarded for their efforts. It’s also a chance for children to learn the value of hard work and dedication.
        Seree Petersen, 18, has been showing animals at the fair for over 10 years, and this year was no different. Petersen, who graduated from Oak Harbor High School in 2018, had pigs, chickens and a turkey on display. She was awarded the reserve champion for her turkey.
        Petersen talked about the focus and time commitment it takes to get the animals ready for the showing.
        “Pigs are probably the most work of all. You have to feed them day and night; the same for chickens and turkeys. For pigs, you have to wash them, clean their cages two to three times per week and walk them to train them,” said Petersen. “We try to do it about every day for about 10 minutes. For chickens and turkeys, we clean them once a week so the feathers don’t get brown and dirty. We have to keep up with feeding them and just being around them so they can trust us. It’s about spending a lot of time with them, mainly.”
        Petersen’s older brother, Rhett, a standout wrestler during his time at Oak Harbor, was a major influence on Seree. Today, she shows her animals with her younger brother, Cade.
        “Rhett is in Texas; that’s where we get our pigs from. He did a really good job with pigs in 4-H. Now he manages a pig farm,” Petersen said. “My grandparents own a farm in Carroll Township that is about five minutes from my house. We have turkeys, chicken, goats, cows and pigs. Cade works with sheep, pigs, chickens, turkeys -- he really gets into it; he works with his animals a lot. Whenever Rhett comes to Ohio, he helps us with the pigs.
        “My whole family started working with animals years ago, and my cousins did it, too. Rhett loved pigs and he loved showing at the fair, so seeing him really get into it pushed me and my little brother. He and Cade have helped me out a lot with pigs. Cade wants to help my brother out with his farm someday.”
        Petersen is also a bit of a fair aficionado.
        “I love the food,” she said. “I love being with my friends and my siblings. The rodeo, the tractor pulls, the demolition derby – we all go to see those things.”
        Petersen and Cade are planning on taking their pig to the Ohio State Fair in Columbus later this month.
        Petersen recently completed her freshman year at Ohio Christian University, an NAIA college of about 3,300 located in Circleville, approximately 27 miles south of Columbus. She was a defender for the soccer team, which went 7-7-4 last season.
        In high school, Petersen led the Rocket soccer team to four Sandusky Bay Conference championships and one district title and helped the softball team win two league championships and two district titles. (Petersen was good enough to play softball in college but instead decided to go with soccer.)
        “I love it at OCU,” she said. “People are so positive. I love it all. The soccer team is great. We have a calendar of workouts that we are given by our (soccer) coach to stay in shape during the summer.”
        Petersen, who is majoring in early childhood education, currently works for Rainbow Acres Educational Daycare Center in Port Clinton.
        “I love kids,” she said.


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