Five inducted into N.C. State Fair Livestock Hall of Fame including Wesley Looper of Granite Falls


LENOIR, NC (October 23, 2017)…Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler recently inducted five new members into the N.C. State Fair Livestock Hall of Fame at the State Fairgrounds.

“Today’s inductees join a small group of men and women who have been leaders with the State Fair livestock shows,” Troxler said. “We are thankful for our livestock family and what their involvement has meant for countless youth who have grown up showing animals at the fair.”

Following is the list of this year’s inductees:

Wesley Looper has been an exhibitor and supporter of the N.C. State Fair swine shows for more than 25 years. Looper and his family have exhibited champion swine in every division of the N.C. State Fair over the years including Junior Market Barrow, Open Market Barrow and Performance Market Hog. Looper has also provided high quality competitive pigs to youth exhibitors across our state and has mentored and helped these youth to great success and champions at the fair. Looper and his family operate a 100-head sow herd in Granite Falls.

From left to right: Wesley Looper and Steve Troxler

• Jean Fish of Fuquay-Varina was a fixture for more than 30 years at the N.C. Cattlemen’s Association’s fair booth in the Jim Graham Building. At the booth, Fish would answer questions from children and adults alike on breeds of cattle, cattle production, show schedules, fitting and showing and more. She would also hand out lucky pennies to nervous youth showing their animals for the first time. It would be hard to note how many pennies she handed out over the many years.

• Carol Turner of Raleigh may have retired from the N.C. State Fair Livestock Office in 2010, but that doesn’t keep her away from the fair. She comes back each year to assist with the N.C. State Fair Special Awards Show. Her dedication and commitment has made it possible for hundreds of special needs youth and adults to show animals at the fair. Because of Turner’s work, these exhibitors receive numerous prizes in the form of ribbons, medallions and fair premiums. Carol wanted more than just a show she wanted these special exhibitors to have an experience. The families of the special show exhibitors consider Turner an inspiration and a hero.

• Mike Smith of Madison has attended livestock shows since the 1980s. But as he traveled across the state with his family to livestock events, Smith, who has Down Syndrome, never had the opportunity to participate. This changed in 1997, when Smith became the first and only exhibitor in the N.C. State Fair Special Awards. The next year, Smith brought a friend, who also had Down Syndrome. Twenty years later, the show has grown to include hundreds of special needs youth and adults over two weekends. Smith is a leader and an example. He shows that one person can make a positive change just with determination, enthusiasm and commitment.

• Casey Armstrong of Enfield has been a member of the N.C. Horse Council for 20 years. She served as president in 2005 and 2006 and still serves on the executive committee. She also recently completed a six-year term as a member of the N.C. Board of Agriculture. Armstrong’s induction is for her decades of service to the horse industry and support of N.C. State Fair horse shows.

Since 1980, the Livestock Hall of Fame has served to recognize and honor outstanding supporters of the fair’s livestock shows. Candidates can be producers of livestock who have exhibited and promoted livestock shows at the fair, a person who has served as a fair employee or volunteer, and representatives of business, extension workers or others from agricultural organizations.

Wesley Looper is the second person from Caldwell County to be inducted into the N.C. State Fair Livestock Hall of Fame. Keith Blinson was inducted in 1996.   Wesley is on the left in photo.