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As Kern County Fair begins, security watching over livestock

Posted at 9:01 PM, Sep 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-22 00:01:33-04

As the 100th Kern County Fair got underway on Wednesday, the largest junior kids livestock show in California also began.

According to participants and employees of the fair, it's also one of the most competitive.

"It's actually known nationwide...the county fair here, how competitive it is," said the fair's C.E.O. Mike Olcott.

As students from around Kern County began setting up their pens and preparing for their animals, some of them are focused on keeping their animals from being tampered with.

"It comes across your mind..." said Devon, who will be showing for Independence High School. He said he sometimes worries about people feeding his animals things they shouldn't be eating.

"Like if they just come in here and put something they [the animals] could eat, it'll mess up their stomach."

Others worry about the possibility of potential sabotage by other competitors. Isabelle, showing for Bakersfield High School, said a friend of hers had issues with other participants.

"She said that they would purposely throw trash in her pen," she said. "And her lamb almost choked."

The fair wouldn't comment on the sabotage theory, but they did acknowledge the fact that security around the barns is tight. There are security cameras and no one is allowed into the barn after close.

"When I was a kid there was about 30 or 40 people that slept in the barn," said Scott Pavletich, who has attended the fair 45 of the last 46 years.

Why did people sleep there? "Protect their animal," Pavletich said.

That's not allowed anymore, so students just have to do what they can and hope security does their job. Regardless, they're excited.

"Win or lose, it's a good experience."