Roswell couple Melissa and David Randle are just two of the many adult volunteers who run the annual Chaves County 4-H and FFA Fair. (Timothy P. Howsare Photo)
While so many teenagers and adolescents nowadays are preoccupied with their smartphones and Xboxes as they tune out their parents or any other adult authority figures, Melissa and David Randle will tell you the young people they know are different.
“Nine out of 10 kids out here will come up to you, shake your hand and look you straight in the eye,” David said.
That’s because as Chaves County Fair superintendents, most of the kids they know are involved in FFA and 4-H and are brought up in a culture of respect and responsibility.
“I think it (FFA and 4-H) teaches you life skills,” David said.
“You learn by doing,” Melissa said.
Melissa was superintendent of poultry and David was superintendent of swine at this year’s county fair, which ended Friday night with the livestock.
The job description for a superintendent isn’t quite a precise as a corporate job posted on monster.com, but it doesn’t need to be.
Basically, a superintendent is an adult who ensures that all the rules are followed in the judging.
“And if we see a kid that needs a little help, we help them out,” David said.
The Randles live in Roswell and own enough property to raise animals. In their day jobs, David is a construction contractor and Melissa is works for Harvey E. Yates, an oil and gas company.
David has been a superintendent since 1998 and Melissa followed in his footsteps a couple years later. Like all the other adults involved with the fair, the Randles are “100 percent volunteer.”
They know of another couple, Benny and Cindy Wooten, who also are a husband-and-wife superintendents.
But even if only one spouse is actually a superintendent, the other spouse will likely be involved, Melissa said.
The Randles said they first got interested in the fair in 1993 when their first son, Cole, entered his animals in competition. Cole passed away in 2011.
Their other two children, twins Ben and Emily, are now 25. They, too, raised animals to compete at the fair.
And while the competition may be intense at an FFA and 4-H fair, there is nothing cutthroat about it, they said.
“Competitors will help each other out,” David said.
Melissa said raising animals is a great way for parents and kids to spend time with each other.
“It’s a great family activity,” she said. “I have nothing against sports but it’s the kids on the team and parents in the bleachers.”