Behind the Scenes at the Wyoming State Fair: All About the Oink for Swine Superintendent Gernant

by Katie Hazlewood, Wyoming FFA media intern

It’s all about the oink for Mr. Howard Gernant. This Big Horn County native is the swine superintendent here at the Wyoming State Fair. His job for these four days is to make sure all is well and running smoothly in the Swine Show Center. From checking in hogs to getting the show arena set; Howard is on top of it all.

The first time Mr. Gernant came to the state fair was as a champion. Back in the 60’s, Howard won the Big Horn County 4-H tractor drive, allowing him to come to the state fair. Later, he went to Northwest College in Powell and then onto the University of Wyoming down in Laramie. Here, he graduated with his degree in ag education. With his degree in hand, Mr. Gernant headed to Kaycee, Wyoming. Over the next 5 years, Howard built the ag program from the ground up. Without him, there wouldn’t be an agriculture program in Kaycee. However, he felt the need to go back home to the family farm. The Gernant Family grew sugar beets, cattle, and sheep. Pigs were not a part of Mr. Gernant’s resume, surprisingly! Howard also managed the Big Horn County Fair for 15 years, which led him right back to the state fair. He decided to start helping out down here in Douglas and then about 10 years ago, they had an opening. Howard was asked to be the swine superintendent and he said, “Yes, I’ll do it!”, something we are all grateful for.

Now, this pig thing was quite new to him since he had never really dealt with swine in his past. Howard overcame that and figured out a way to make this barn run as smoothly as possible. He says he doesn’t do a lot anymore during the shows because he has delegated most of the tasks to people he knows can get the job done. They change little things every year, trying to get the show and the week to run even more efficiently. The market swine show is now his favorite part of the state fair, especially when it runs quickly and smoothly as it did this year.

Howard is all about the fairs. Not only does he attend and direct a part of the state fair, he has been to 5 fairs just this year! These would include Park County, Big Horn County, Washakie County, Laramie County, and of course, our favorite, the Wyoming State Fair. Big Horn is the only other one he helps with, due to the fact he ran it for so many years. Laramie County is another special one for Mr. Gernant, as his granddaughters participate and compete there in Cheyenne.

We are so thankful for the generosity of Mr. Howard Gernant for coming back every year and running a key part of the Wyoming State Fair. Without him, our swine center would be in disarray and we wouldn’t have someone to say “Hey Howard!” to at the state fairgrounds. When asked what his advice to the public would be, he said, “Don’t neglect the fairs. Come to them, even if you aren’t showing anything because we need the visitors on the fairgrounds.” Wise words and some very important words in these times of need for the fairs all across the country.

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