ESCANABA – The end of the Upper Peninsula State Fair Sunday will also be the end of a chapter in Taylor Granquist’s life.
The Powers teen has been showing animals at the fair for the past 12 years. She showed her final steer at the Junior Market Livestock Auction Saturday.
“It gives me the chills because I grew up doing this and it’s pretty much been my whole life for the past 12 years. It’s chapter that’s closing,” Granquist said after showing her steer at the auction. “It’s weird not to be out looking for another steer already and to be done with this part of my life.”
She said she appreciates all of the people that purchased her steers over the years. Granquist was chosen as this year’s fair queen.
Fifty-two businesses collaborated Saturday to give a 16-year-old girl a special gift during the U.P. State Fair.
Alesha Gustafson had emergency surgery during the fair that left her unable to show her pig at the Junior Market Livestock Auction Saturday. Gary Johnson of Johnson Brother’s Livestock and State Rep. Ed McBroom, livestock committee chair, teamed up to allow Gustafson to sell her pig.
The livestock committee allowed it and the auction ended with Gustafson getting $52 per pound for her pig.
“Obviously, all of the prices are a little above normal but this one was really special and will really help this young lady and her family to deal with the emergency medical bills. It was a special moment for everyone at the state fair and a real chance for this community and for the Upper Peninsula to shine and show their generosity,” McBroom said.
McBroom says the crowd gave Gustafson a standing ovation. She was in a wheelchair Saturday just outside the ring where she would normally be during the auction.
The kids showing animals at the U.P. State Fair this year were encouraged to share what they know with younger exhibitors.
As the livestock committee chair, McBroom said the goal is to have kids helping kids.
“I saw kids coming over from the horse department or goat department learning from the kid who won the dairy. I saw kids from the beef barn helping the dairy kids. Things like that were going on. So you get a chance to learn about animals that you don’t normally show but you also make relationships and try to help each other,” said McBroom.
McBroom said the overall showmanship contest and team showing and fitting competition helped to encourage the kids to help others.