Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
Sheep exhibitors at the Washington County Fair held a generations-spanning tribute to the department’s recently retired superintendents Tuesday night, a show for 4-H’ers and alumni who showed sheep under their watchful eyes over nearly five decades.
The tribute show was titled “Ewe Raised Me Right.”
Dave Birney and Duane Sprouse were longtime staples of the Washington County Fair, serving as joint sheep department superintendents from 1972 to 2020: a whopping 48 years.
“The Dave Birney and Duane Sprouse duo have impacted generations of families through the sheep department,” county 4-H Youth Coordinator Amy Green said during the show. “Today, we have the opportunity to see just a few of them in action again.”
Numerous families lined up with their sheep around the ring, many of them containing three distinct generations that showed sheep at the fair under Birney and Sprouse’s management.
“We pride ourselves on family, and the sheep department is a great example of this,” Green said. “The leadership in those 48 years has laid the foundation and left a legacy that we must recognize.”
Both former superintendents said the experience was emotional.
“A lot of memories came back,” Sprouse said. “Times that you remember being at the fair, preparing for the fair … it’s just all of them.”
Sprouse thanked the families recognizing him for their support.
“We had some good people around us that helped us when we first started,” he said.
“Our job is pretty easy because we’ve got such good people working for us,” Birney added.