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Mutton bustin'

Forty-six kids entered the Carlton County Fair's first mutton busting competition Sunday, Aug. 19. Dave Harwig / Pine Journal1 / 4
The Carlton County Fair debuted mutton busting last weekend. Dave Harwig / Pine Journal2 / 4
Mutton busting attracted a large crowd to the Carlton County Fair in Barnum on Sunday, Aug. 19. Dave Harwig / Pine Journal 3 / 4
Carlton County Fair organizers were surprised by the flood of entrants in its first mutton busting competition, so preregistration was required. Dave Harwig / Pine Journal4 / 4

Fairs and festivals are always trying to reinvent themselves and find new and unique ways to bring fun, excitement and something to bring in new customers. Carlton County Fair organizers dipped into their bag of tricks and found something that was a hit among fair goers: mutton busting.

What is it? It's a short race where young kids ride a sheep in a chute to see who can ride the longest or who can ride all the way to the finish line. Think of it as a rodeo for tots.

"It's something that a lot of other places do, but we just haven't done here," Carlton County Fair Manager Alysha Sample said. "Our horse race director, Annette Palacios, talked about trying to do it along with the horse races a couple of years ago, but for whatever reason, it just never happened."

That is until this year, when one of the Fair Board directors, Heather Sanvig, said believed the event could be scheduled for the Sunday lineup.

"It was decided at a July meeting that we would give it a try, but by then our fair books had already gone to press," Sample explained.

No worries on that end, because 46 youngsters entered the competition Sunday, Aug. 19.

"Heather did a great job with it, and to see that many kids wanting to be a part of it was great," Sample said. "We had so much response that we had to scramble and had to have people preregister."