For many area residents, participating in the Newton County Fair has become a tradition.

For many area residents, participating in the Newton County Fair has become a tradition.

Michaela White, 17, and Cheyenne Walker, 18, members of the Ozark 4-H Club, have been taking part in the fair since they were in grade school.

"I've been showing at the fair since I was in the fifth grade," White said, as her horse, Rogue, stood in a stall nearby Wednesday afternoon at the Newton County Fairgrounds.

"I've been showing her for five years," White added, noting that she also has chickens at the fair this year.
Walker, meanwhile, is in her 10th year participating in the Newton County Fair.

She and her horse, Bullet, have been practicing frequently to prepare for this week's events. want your horse to be very good," Walker said. "You've really got to crack down that last week, you have to ride a lot. I've been riding five hours a day for the past week. It helps keep them calmer."

White said preparation also includes bathing the horse frequently leading up to the fair.

Both girls have succeeded in showing their horses in the past, with both having claimed high point before, though they say winning isn't what it is all about.

"I just do it for fun, I don't care what I get," Walker said.

Even when not preparing for the fair, White and Walker say they try to ride as often as possible.

"As long as it's not winter, I ride like four times a week," White said.

The horse showmanship events are scheduled for today, and no matter how Bullet and Rogue perform, there will likely be no love lost with their owners, who both noted a special relationship between them and their horses.
"Bullet will come up and give me hugs, he puts his head on my shoulder," Walker said.

For White, the best memory she has of participating in the Newton County Fair is the first time she competed with Rogue.

"She's my first show horse that I knew I wanted to keep my whole life," White said. "She's like a dog, she'll follow me around the pasture and if I sit in the stall she'll sleep in my lap. I love her to death. I'd never get rid of her."
The second day of the Newton County Fair kicks off at 8 a.m. with horse youth showmanship, followed by swine market and breeding, rabbit, and poultry.

The 4-H exhibit building opens at noon, and will be followed by afternoon events including dairy cattle and dairy goat.

The evening will include western horsemanship, adult showmanship, live entertainment, and the Pride Amusements carnival.

The fair runs through Saturday at the Newton County Fairgrounds, 700 Field Avenue, in Neosho.