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Monday, August 27, 2007

Don't miss this charity race

Our Walworth County fair has a reputation as one of the best in the country, and people from far and wide make their annual pilgrimage for the six-day run over Labor Day weekend.

There's always plenty to see, but there's added excitement in getting a chance to participate.

That's certainly true for the many 4-H members whose fair projects consume them throughout the year.

Although the official opening of the fair is still three days away, the Walworth County Fairgrounds in Elkhorn have been in high-fair mode for at least two weeks now.

Junior participants kicked off this year's judging Aug. 13 with the arts categories.

By last Wednesday, cats were earning their stripes at the 4-H cat show and Thursday the dogs had their turn. (Look for the next edition of the Thursday Week for our coverage of dog agility.)

There's more fair than can fit in a six-day run. By the time fair marshals Mark and Mary Stinebrink and John and Marian McClellen snip the ribbon at 10 a.m. Wednesday, it will be a race to get everything in by the end of the day Labor Day Monday.

This is my year to be a participant rather than a spectator.

I've been invited to ride in the Celebrity for Charity Harness race Saturday, Sept. 1 during the fair at 1:30 p.m. on the track in front of the grandstand.

I'm taking it that they're using the term "celebrity" loosely. We don't have real celebrities around here-people who are famous for being famous.

Instead, Sue Pruessing, fair marketing and public relations manager, has put together a group of people whose names at least should be recognizable.

The winner of the race will have $1,000 donated to the charity of his or her choice, with lesser amounts going to each of the other charities.

I've chosen the Time is Now, whose column we run each Sunday in The Week. This local organization has found a way to help people in need who have nowhere else to turn.

Also in the race will be:

-- Sheila Reiff, Walworth County's clerk of circuit court, who will be racing for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation, dedicated to curing breast cancer.

-- Reggie Michaels of WSLD radio, who will be racing to raise money for Walworth County food pantries.

-- Dr. Deana Courier, a family practice physician, whose charity is the Agape House in Walworth.

-- David Graves, Walworth County's sheriff, whose winnings will go to the local American Cancer Society Relay for Life.

But this is my column, so I'm hoping readers will show up to cheer on my horse.

Like I did at first, you're probably wondering if the participants will actually take the reins and race-now that would be something to see, wouldn't it.

I've been assured however, that we'll just be passengers on a two-seater as we make our way around the track.

There's more than a blue ribbon at stake at this event, so no matter the outcome, our communities will be the real winners.

If you're planning on a visit to the fair Saturday, be sure to wander by the grandstand at 1:30 p.m. to catch the action.



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