Ravalli County residents aren't seeing, and hearing, all the fun of the county fair this week but the Bitterroot's 4H students are getting to cap their year raising animals by bringing their critters directly to market in a new way.
The COVID-19 pandemic seemed a world away at on Wednesday at the Boelman's farm in Corvallis -- but that's what brought us here, to see what we can't see at the fairgrounds -- meeting Amanda, and Ned.
"Just over the years, you get better at training them faster and figuring out how to train them to walk and do all that stuff better than the year before," said Amanda Boleman, a Ravalli County 4H member.
"I just love the opportunities that it provides for you to learn and interact with your community," Amanda added. "I think that's a great way for you to learn how to be a good leader and a better overall well-rounded person."
Amanda's little brother Bennett has been enjoying his closing days with "Ace" and "Leroy", goats -- instead of the pigs, which he's raised in the past.
"Goats are probably my favorite out of both of them," he said. "They are a lot more friendly like, they're just jumping on us a couple of minutes ago and they're really friendly overall."
The 4H members told MTN News they would have liked to have ended this summer with all the fun and friends at the Ravalli County Fair but add this is kind of a unique opportunity and it's teaching them new skills.
"Persevering, critical thinking, and kind of thinking outside of the box and making it happen, even if it's not exactly how you want it to happen in the first place," Ravalli County 4H exntension agent Annie Bauer explained.
"Like we've got to learn how to use all sorts of online tools that I wouldn't have learned how to use if it wasn't online this year, so it's just new thing, said Amanda about the shift to online sales for this year's event.
"Producers support it. Auctioneers are liking it. And so it's just another tool to help get our product, these agricultural animals and livestock to a market," Ravalli County extension agent Patrick Mangan said.
"It has to be done, I guess. Kind of 'cause of the COVID stuff," Bennett said. "I definitely like normal fairs more I think."
"Well, I am glad that they're still doing it because even though there's not a fair, I still got to spend the whole year with my lamb," Amanda concluded.
It's an encouraging symbol -- enthusiasm to help us look to next year. The auction runs until 12 p.m. on Saturday. Click here for more information.