Tugging away at the fair

Darien Walsh, 18, is finishing up her 4-H career this year at the Webster County Fair.

One of the ways she’s doing that is by conducting a test during the tug-of-war contest.

Her idea: gloves provide a better grip on the rope.

“It’s my hypothesis,” she said.

In addition to the gloves, she’s also in possession of another secret weapon that could turn out to be useful in the sand for extra traction.

“I’ve got these big Hobbit feet,” she said before turning a bit red in the face, “They’re not hairy though.”

A newcomer to tug-of-war, she wasn’t sure if the key was in leg strength, arm power or leverage.

She settled on leg force.

“That’s what I think,” she said.

To make the event a little more exciting, the two teams were separated by a moat of sorts. While it did not contain any alligators or other moat creatures, it was full of water.

Alex Dohrn, 9, was the first to follow the rope into the pit with an odd result.

“I’m happy now,” he said. “It’s warm.”

Josie Schild, 14, a member of the Nifty Newark 4-H Club, choose to pull barefoot. It had nothing to do with gaining traction or any other tactical edge. It was practical.

“I don’t have any extra socks,” she said.

He concern was getting pulled into the pit. Spending the rest of the day with wet socks and sand in her shoes did not appeal at all.

Schild was a first-timer to the game too. She said she was bit nervous.

Her brother Justin Schild, 15, had a typical brotherly plan for making sure his team won – and he stayed dry.

“I’ll make sure she’s up front,” he said.

The pair’s mom, Jennifer Schild, was standing by to watch and of course, like any mom with supermom hearing, heard his comment.

“That’s dedication and loyalty,” she joked.

She helped ensure they were ready by being in shape.

Her secret?

“They have chores to do,” she said. “They don’t sit around at home.”

So how did Walsh’s test of the cotton Jersey glove for tug-of-war turn out? Not so well; after one heat, she took them off.

The Webster County Fair continues today. Events begin at 9 a.m.