Fair Competition

By Matt Markham

September 1, 2011 Updated Sep 1, 2011 at 7:51 PM EDT

Town of Geddes, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The New York State Fair isn't all fun and games for everyone. There is intense competition in cooking, drinking water, horticulture and agriculture... even some Broome and Tioga County contenders for horse shows.

Some of us associate the Fair these days with things colorful, fried, or sweet. But the history, and the true meaning for some, finds itself in agricultural competition.

We met Dick Canniff from Lisle after dressing his horse up for show.
He's been coming to the fair for at least 50 years.

"It's just a family tradition. My grandfather started pulling horses years ago and we've been coming ever since," says Dick Canniff.

The Shaughnessy's of Apalachin compete in both the Tioga and Delaware County Fairs, but this is the most important competition.

"Once you hit that show ring, going in that show ring, your heart's pounding. It's very exciting," says Amy Shaughnessy, of Apalachin.

While they enjoy the Fair, it's a different sort of experience than the one you would have on the Midway.

"I'm more just the stall maintenance man," says Patrick Shaughnessy. "Everyone has their job, and keeping things clean, and keeping her going in the ring at the right time."

But the display is magnificent for these animals and the ones who work with them.

"I represent them by handing out ribbons and talking to people about Percheron Horses," says Bridget Quaranta of Apalachin. "They only come in three colors -- white, a dapple grey, and black."

She is the Percheron Queen.

"It is quite an honor to be here giving ribbons to the horses, having everyone see," says Bridget.

It may be a little work, but these folks say the pride of the exhibition is worth it.

"Like anything in agriculture, really, if you don't enjoy it you might as well not even do it," says Patrick.

And they do it big here on the Fairgrounds.