LOGAN — “I’m probably the oldest person at this fair,” said Ralph Ogle, as he sat outside his family camper at the Hocking County Fairgrounds.
At 85 years old, Ogle has had the privilege of experiencing nearly every Hocking County Fair since World War II ended in September of 1945, when Ogle was about 12 years old. He remembers missing only one fair because he had left for Michigan.
“I started when the fair started,” Ogle stated.
Throughout those years, he has witnessed the evolution of the fair. His earliest memories are camping at the fairgrounds when there were no campers and just tents to go back to at night.
Ogle started out showing animals at the fair like many of the kids still do today. He started by showing ducks and eventually worked his way to lamb and sheep, then dairy cows. He showed his purebred Guernsey cow at the fair for about five years.
He added that a lot of what was shown then were dairy cattle, but it slowly moved to beef cattle. He has shown both and now he dabbles in Black Angus bulls, but those aren’t for show.
Ogle was there as some of the barns and buildings that stand today were being built in the late 1940s. He feels the buildings have improved a great deal and added that the crowds have always been large, but they consistently become larger every year.
He became a member of the fair board in the 1970s and served a four-year term. His last name is still a part of the fair board with his grandson being a current member.
He has also seen the introduction of some different events such as the derby as well as the removal of others like horse racing and horse pulls.
Ogle is for some of the changes the fair has made and he is against others. Overall, he feels the fair has continually improved.
He still comes every day of the fair, but he doesn’t sleep overnight as much as he used to. Now he comes as a fan who supports his grandson and great-granddaughter who is showing animals in the fair just like he once did.