It’s official: A person can truly buy anything off of Ebay, even Emu eggs to hatch and raise for the Tuscarawas County Fair. Don’t believe me? Ask Hunter McLaughlin, a 16-year-old fair participant who can teach you about raising Emus, muzzleloading, wrestling, square dancing, and a whole lot more.
4-H in His Genes and Teaching his Passion
Hunter, a Junior at Conotton Valley High School, has been a 4-H member since he was six years old. His mother, who showed horses and goats, signed him up and he’s been growing his resume ever since. He is currently a member of the junior fair board and plans to be heavily involved in this year’s Tuscarawas County Fair.
Hunter’s first year participating in the fair began his success and fueled his passion. He won first place in his Market hog class. His favorite fair experience was winning chicken showmanship at 14 years old. Last year, he was the talk of the fair with his self-determined project: Emus.
Last year, Hunter’s dad hatched 4 emus from eggs he bought on Ebay. Hunter and his dad raised them and then Hunter took them as a self-determined project for 4-H. . He competed with his book judging at the Ohio State Fair and got an outstanding of the day. He was able to display them at the fair for a few days and they were a huge hit. Hunter says that he enjoyed educating people about them, especially letting children get in the pen and pet them.
Education is Hunter’s passion. He will be attending Buckeye Joint Vocational School and Kent State in the fall majoring in Teaching Professions. In addition to his academic and 4-H interests, Hunter participates on the youth trap, wrestling, and track teams. He enjoys hunting, fishing, and playing Xbox. He volunteers as a Big for Big Brothers and Big Sisters, a 4-H counselor, and plans to continue mentoring young 4-H members.
Where to Find Hunter at the Fair this Year
This year at the fair, Hunter’s projects include Market Hog, Market Turkey, Fancy Chickens, and Muzzleloader. He purchased two Market Hogs on April 15th and will feed them to Market weight and teach them to walk with a whip. Hunter acquired his Fancy Chickens in March as babies and will raise them to adults and pick a breeding pair to exhibit at the fair. This year, he will be exhibiting two different pairs: Japanese black tail bantam and Yokohama.
Hunter is taking Muzzleloader in 4-H shooting sports this year. They meet at a range and shoot throughout the year, while learning about safe gun handling, cleaning, and shooting. If he places 1st in the county during July’s book judging, he will be eligible to compete at the state fair. Hunter is hoping for the same success he had last year when took shotgun shooting and got an outstanding of the day at the state fair.
Supporting Hunter is his many endeavors this year will be his sisters and girlfriend, who will watch the competition via webcam. Hunter’s parents and grandma will spend the week camping at the fair and mentoring him, which is a family tradition, as Hunter’s grandma was his mom’s 4-H advisor. Hunter says, though, that his biggest fan has got to be his 96 year old grandma, who always tries to make it to one of his shows.
As for Hunter, he’s looking forward to participating as a contestant and junior fair board member, preparing the grounds and helping with the shows, auctions, and animal check-in and loading. He will find time to enjoy himself and the festivities, including the demolition derby and the square dance, where he can, “unwind and enjoy fun times with my friends.”
Along with the fried Oreos and Chinese food truck, Hunter recommends that readers give the fair and 4-H a try for a fun time, learning experience, and opportunity to make friends.