New horse ring dedicated|
Saturday, July 13, 2013
By Terry Whetstone Staff Writer
Leonard O. Swisher, who passed away about four years ago, loved horses, he loved the Clearfield County Fair and he loved the 4-H. But now, his memory will live on forever at the new Leonard O. Swisher Horse Area located at the Clearfield County Fairgrounds.
His family was on hand yesterday to help dedicate the new arena, a project that moved rather quickly once it got going.
Jena Davidson, 4-H youth development coordinator, said the new arena will offer a new venue, as a few events will be held this year. But, plans are already in the works for 2014. There will be barrel racing, jumping and much more at the new site.
"I never knew how big this was," said Greg Hallstrom, fair board manager. "But I'm seeing how big it is now."
Today beginning at 9 a.m. will be the first official event, as festivities get under way and will last throughout the day.
Davidson said they modeled the arena after the Sykesville one, but this one is much larger.
"It's the biggest one in the area," she said. "And that will allow us to do much more."
The crowd on hand got to see Lindsey Swisher, Leonard's granddaughter, do some demonstrations. Then when she was finished Katelyn Matthews of Glasgow did a few jumps for the crowd.
"This moved fast because Swishers did it," said Ricki Swisher, family member.
Through donations and a lot of volunteer hours, the project came to fruition. The Swisher family was more than gracious with the help and donations.
"The fair has at least 1,000 volunteer hours in the project," Hallstrom said. "Not just from fair board members, from other volunteers too."
He said the board was concerned about how to fund the project when Davidson ap-proached the fair board in May. Hallstrom said the fair itself was put on the back burner until the project got started, then they began to work on the fair activities.
There are some minor things to finish up, such as landscaping around the ring, and the nice thing is, it's permanent. It won't have to be taken out of the infield after events during the fair like it has been in the past.
"This fits in with the fair décor," Hallstrom said. "And with this being an agriculture fair, it's a perfect fit."