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All's fair in Witt family tradition
Times photo: Brenda Steurer The Witt family has a long tradition of participating in the Green County Fair. More than 60 years ago, Eunice Witt took her three children to a 4-H meeting, starting the familys involvement. Today, her great-grandchildren Nicole and Tyler are showing animals at the fair. Their father, Bryan, showed when he was younger and now serves as superintendent of beef.
MONROE - Eunice Witt, 92, Monroe, didn't expect to start a Green County Fair family tradition 60 years ago.

She took her three children, Don, Karen and Bev, to their first 4-H meeting at the Dutch Hollow school house when Don was about 11 years old. Even though the Witts were dairy farmers, Don, now of Monticello, chose to show beef cattle and chickens.

He was assigned the southeast corner of the livestock barn his first year at the county fair.

This week her great-grandchildren, Tyler, 17, and Nicole, 14, Browntown, have two beef steers and one heifer bedded down in the same corner of the barn, commonly known as the Witt corner.

"It's been the Witt corner ever since Dad started," said Tyler and Nicole's father Bryan Witt. "That's just where we go every year."

Bryan said the location has nothing to do with their last name being near the end of the alphabet.

Bryan followed his dad's lead in raising and showing beef cattle.

He said Eunice was an integral part of helping him line up his 4-H projects and showing at the fair because his grandfather Lester and father Don were busy on their farms during fair week.

"Grandma mostly took care of us (Bryan and his sister, Heidi) at the fair," Bryan said. "She could really crack the whip."

When he was growing up, the county fair was like a summer vacation, Bryan remembered.

"4-H was all there was on the farm. We didn't have all these summer (ball) leagues," he said. "I really looked forward to it."

Eunice still comes to the fair every year - except in 2009 when she injured her knee, and the doctor kept her home for fear of infection. It was the first time in 62 years that she had missed the fair.

"Oh, she was mad," Bryan said.

Eunice served as a 4-H leader and went on to become the fair's superintendent of gardens and flowers.

"She gave it up when she was about 75 or 80," Bryan said. "But she still donates for the awards."

Unlike when he was growing up, Bryan is at the fair watching over his own children and their beef cattle all week.

But he is also busy as the superintendent of beef on the fair's board of directors, a position handed down from his father. And he serves as president of the Green County Beef Producers, which provides the bedding for the beef barn, as well as a little incentives for the 4-H members showing at the fair.

"I keep doing it because I enjoy it," he said.

Although Bryan showed beef cattle in open class for four to five years after graduating from high school, he no longer can.

"There's no open class for beef anymore, or I might," he said.

After the live beef showings on Friday, Bryan had carcass judging to watch. The two judgings determines the overall performance champ.

"The goal is to produce a good quality meat for consumers," he said.

Bryan has little interest in competitions at the Wisconsin State Fair, where he said champions are too often bought and shown just for judging.

At the county fair, the beef is all home-grown, and it's more laid back, he said.

And Grandma is coming.