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Morning Sun
  • Farm show prep is under way

  • The Four State Farm Show may run only three days, but it takes a lot longer than that to get things ready at the 25-acre show site south of Pittsburg.

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  • The Four State Farm Show may run only three days, but it takes a lot longer than that to get things ready at the 25-acre show site south of Pittsburg.
    The show is scheduled from 7:30 to 3 p.m. July 19 and 20 and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 21. Show site is half a mile east of the intersection of US 69, 400 and K-171 highways.
    “A lot of work goes into this,” said Ted Gum, publisher of Farm Talk, the regional weekly agricultural newspaper that sponsors the show.
    He said the show has been on the site for the past 30 years.
    “We’ve been blessed to have access to this particular piece of ground,” Gum said. “It’s handy to Pittsburg and Joplin.”
    For most of the year the main show site doesn’t get many visitors.
    “We try to start around the first of June harvesting the hay,” Gum said. “Then, up until the show, we mow it just like you’d mow your yard.”
    On Thursday he was there to supervise a crew laying down miles of bright orange twine. Placement of the twine has to be precise, because it’s used to mark off where the 700 exhibitor booths will be.
    The twine stays in place until the paint goes on. That happened Friday, with crews spray-painting lines on the ground to mark the booth areas. The chore took around 16 five-gallon buckets of paint.
    “I’ve had spray guns break down,” Gum said. “I’ve been here Friday night in the dark painting lines.”
    Then there are numerous other jobs to do.
    “This year we dug out the pond and re-furbished it, and re-hung some gates on the hay field,” Gum said.
    The site has water and electricity, and those also need to be checked out and any problems corrected by qualified professionals. However, a lot of the work at the show site is done by teens.
    “We hire a bunch of kids, and they’re good kids,” Gum said. “Mostly they work for us through their high school years.”
    Federal laws do restrict young workers, and Gum said all laws are strictly followed.
    “We can’t use anybody here under the age of 14, they’re not allowed to use anything mechanical like a weed eater or mower until they’re 16, and they can’t drive a tractor until they’re 18,” he said. “But there’s a lot of other jobs the younger ones  can do, like painting posts and barrels and picking up trash.”
    Tents will start going up on Monday. There will be around 150 on the grounds.
    “There’s nothing too exciting going on,” Gum said. “It’s really basic. You  get out here, work and sweat.”
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