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City boy, country fun
Greg Hoogeveen

This week is the 2023 Rock County Fair, and it’s a big week for the sports guy at the Star Herald.
I have committed to being on the Star Herald teams for Wednesday night’s Donkey Races and Friday Night’s Ag Olympic.
Being a city boy with limited barnyard experience, I am a bit scared and excited to see how these events go.
Growing up, I have had the opportunity to ride a pig or two at a relative’s farm. I remember jumping on, grabbing what I could, and holding on for dear life. Granted, a donkey is a lot taller than a hog, but I will approach it the same way. But I hear donkeys can be stubborn and difficult to ride.
The only other difference I see is that the donkey race will be in front of hundreds of people in the grandstands just waiting for the competitors to struggle through the race.
I like challenges, so I will be ready for whatever happens and hopefully walk away with some dignity and a good story to look back on.
The Ag Olympics will feature more country life experiences with challenges like move the calf, backseat driver, three-person wheelbarrow races, bale rolling and stacking and bucket races.
My city mind has been wondering if I have any relatable experiences to these activities.
I have a huge dog who pulls me on walks and sits when he doesn’t want to move, so I feel I can lift or pull calves if I had to.
We have all experienced backseat drivers, but being blindfolded adds a new wrinkle to the challenge.
I have used a wheelbarrow before, but never with someone else navigating the other handle. Nothing can go wrong there …
I have seen round and square bales but never handled them. I have, however, pushed a car out of gas and had a paper route with bales of papers.
Bucket races I have some knowledge of. Back in 2014 when Luverne got hammered with rain and flooding, I helped bale out a few basements and sump pump holes.
All in all, I think I’m ready for Ag Olympics (as long I survive the Donkey Races unscathed).
No matter how you look at it, these will be new and fun experiences to try in front of crowds of people.
Maybe I’ll take home a ribbon. If nothing else, I’ll have new stories to tell.
Wish me luck, and cheer on the Star Herald team at these events.
And if you are ever invited to try something different or new, give it a chance. 
The worst that could happen is you’ll make a fool of yourself in front of a crowd.
The best thing that could come of it is you’ve tried something new and uncomfortable and now have a story to tell and build on in the future.

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