FLETCHER – Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler inducted two couples into the N.C. Mountain State Fair Livestock Hall of Fame during the fair’s opening weekend. Troxler recognized Randy and Debbie Trantham of Candler and James and Wanda Dobbins of Rutherfordton for their longtime support to the fair, livestock shows, display agriculture and the livestock industry in western North Carolina.
“The Tranthams and the Dobbins have been part of the livestock shows at the N.C. Mountain State Fair since the fair started in 1994,” Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said. “We couldn’t have built this livestock program into what it is today without their contributions, knowledge and passion for educating others about their animals.
The Tranthams have been advocates for fiber and fiber animals for almost 32 years, devoting their time to educating the public about the breeds of long-wooled sheep they raise, the fiber they produce and the products available from this type of agriculture. They have participated in livestock displays for the Mountain State Fair since the fair started. In 1998, Debbie began using wool from her sheep to create handcrafted Santas through her business Fiber Dreams Santas. The Trantham family helped establish the fair’s long-wooled sheep competition and has mentored generations of children during their involvement with the fair. The family continues to be active in agriculture, raising nearly 50 head of endangered long-wool sheep, belted Galloway cattle, llamas, horses, chickens and goats. They are currently involved in the Valais Blacknose Sheep Breed Up program, bringing the newest breed of long-wool sheep to the United States.
“Debbie and Randy find great joy in bringing their grandchildren to the fair and showing them all about the traditions this annual event brings,” Troxler said. “As a grandfather myself, I know how cherished the opportunity is to see something you love, like the fair, through the eyes of your grandchildren.”
The Dobbins have shown Brahman cattle since the beginning of the N.C. Mountain State Fair. They participate in the display livestock, which is what most fairgoers who visit the fair see when they visit the livestock area. These displays show livestock and provide educational information on the different breeds.
The Dobbins are dedicated to educating families about their cattle and talking about what the cattle industry means to agriculture. James Dobbins has a lifelong love for his Brahman bulls and cows and has raised them for more than 40 years at Dobbins Farm. His daughter Laura said she tells people that she has one two-legged brother and many four-legged brothers and sisters. James Dobbins is also a member of the Carolinas Brahman Breeders Association.
“The Dobbins have made a lasting impact on livestock shows at the N.C. Mountain State Fair,” Troxler said. “Their contributions will set an example for generations to come. Their children, Laura and Robby, have also been a fixture at the fair and have said their parents set a wonder example for them. They taught them to always be true to their word, never break a promise and above all else, be early. Never be late.”
The N.C. Mountain State Fair Livestock Hall of Fame was created by livestock show staff to recognize individual contributions to the livestock industry and livestock shows in western North Carolina.
The N.C. Mountain State Fair runs through Sept. 19 at the WNC Agricultural Center in Fletcher. More information is available at www.mountainfair.org.