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The barrow sale photos always run efficiently under the rule of Steve Mapes.

Teamwork required for Ohio State Fair

We have gotten tremendous response to the quick results we post from the Ohio State Fair. It is amazing how many people check out the photos, videos and results we post in real time as the junior market and dairy shows take place.

I was asked by several people at the Ohio State Fair about what happens behind the scenes to get the results, photos and videos posted so quickly. Well, that is a good question, and here is a short answer. Teamwork.

There are thousands of names, spellings, placings, home counties, and champions in all of the different shows we cover with all of the different species and breeds. It takes extensive work from all of our staff. We each have our own roles and we work together as a team to get the job done.

And during the course of the Fair, our support team for the rapid result posting extends well beyond our staff. Without the incredible team of people in each of the livestock barns, what we do online would not be possible. From the announcers at the shows who always have a moment to help out with a name or home county of an exhibitor to the brilliant teams of people scrambling to keep results organized in the respective barn offices, our State Fair team is extensive. Beyond them, the people working the rings, the queens handing out ribbons, the State Fair Commissioners, the barn superintendents and management teams, and many others make running the shows look easy — but it is not.

It is a real honor to get to work with these fine people that do not often get credit for helping us get those results out so fast online, but there is no way we could do it without them. In the hog barn, for example, the legendary Steve Mapes (he was recently featured in the Columbus Dispatch) runs the photo area like a well-oiled machine.

Every time I show up to get the shots I need, I marvel at how efficiently he handles the buyers, the exhibitors and the pigs. In the corner of the hog barn, he has a white backdrop on one wall and a blue backdrop on the other to use depending on the color of the hog. He lines up the people along the wall and then guides the hog into position where well-trained boys are waiting with cake mix, feed and spray bottles at the ready to entice the animal into just the right position. Mapes barks out orders as the hog moves in and the boys expertly follow his commands.

Mapes takes aim and rapid fires photos. When shooting with Mapes, I have learned to stand at his side and let him do all the hard work, then snap photos when he snaps. But, when doing this, a photographer needs to understand that when the pig moves, so does Mapes. And, when Mapes moves, you’d better not be in his way.

The best strategy for avoiding a Mapes photo catastrophe is to assume a stance similar to playing defense in basketball — bent knees and on your toes. By doing so, you can quickly slide to the side when the pig moves and Mapes follows.

Now, on the surface it would seem that Mapes really does not have anything to do with our ability to get results out quickly, but because he has things running so well, it saves me quite a bit of time taking hog photos. With the time I save there, I can better serve all of you by helping the staff get results up quickly. These situations pop up in every livestock barn and are too numerable to mention, but they happen throughout the entire Ohio State Fair.

Doing what we do at the State Fair takes no small amount of time, but putting forth such effort is easy and enjoyable because so many others (from the fair manager to the exhibitors and their parents) are doing the same. The end results of this incredible teamwork are impressive by any measure at the Fair, but even more impressive in the way they manifest themselves in the lives of the young people who participate.

So, in what has turned into kind of a long answer, we can do what we do through teamwork, but our team extends well beyond our staff. Thanks to all who helped us out at the 2013 Ohio State Fair.

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