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Washington County Fair's opening-day heatwave doesn't wither crowd

NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: TRAVIS LOOSE - (From left) Ali Groshong, Emily Olson, Chris Breeding and Tiana Rudolf participate in the Washington County Fair's Pig Scramble on Thursday morning in Hillsboro. It was Olson's second, Rudolf and Bredding's third and Groshong's fifth year showing pigs at the fair.Thursday’s scorching heat did nothing to deter young or old — seeking thrills on a carnival ride, a peek at barnyard animals or a tall cone of cotton candy — from turning out on opening day of the Washington County Fair in Hillsboro.

Even before 10 a.m., representatives from Washington County-area National FFA Organizations were showing livestock and winning ribbons.

With tears in her eyes, Tiana Rudolf and other members of Forest Grove FAA said their goodbyes to the pigs they’d raised since April after the morning’s Pig Scramble.

Once the fair is over, Rudolf’s 286-pound market hog, Jamal, will likely become dinner for a luau-themed picnic hosted by her father’s company later this summer, she said.

“Last year I cried,” Rudolf said, “but it’s the humane thing to do.”

Rudolf said she was happy Jamal will be able to bring happiness to someone after he’s gone, but that didn’t make it any easier to say goodbye to the friend she’d nurtured for the past three months.

In another barn, Jessica Richey of Forest Grove looked pitifully at her goat, 184. With too little fat and muscle, poor 184 got fifth place in his competitive category.

NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: TRAVIS LOOSE - Undeterred by the 100-plus degree temperatures Thursday afternoon, Greg Frisbee casually swallowed fire during his Rubber Chicken Show at the Washington County Fair. Asked by a child in the audience why he eats fire, 'Because people like it' was Frisbee's cool response.A high school junior, this was Richey’s first year with FFA. She joined because “all my friends and dad did FFA,” she said. Though she added that she’d probably try again next year.

Normally, she said, “It’s easy to make weight.”

Elsewhere on the grounds, stunt dogs and stunt rubber chicken launchers and stunt motorcyclists entertained crowds. Shad Petersen performed motorcycle tricks off his trailer with the help of brave child volunteers.

Laying on her back, Sandy Cardenas, 11, of Tigard watch attentively as Petersen, ranked eighth in the National Moto Trials Championship, launched himself over her — twice.

“I felt awesome and scared at the same time,” Cardenas said. “I was scared because his bike wasn’t working earlier.”

Cardenas’ mother said she was “nervous.”

Riding since he was 15 years old, Petersen said he wouldn’t perform the trick if he had any concern it could go south.

“I’ve jumped over so many kids,” Petersen said. “I did this fair last year and I really enjoyed it. I’m amazed for how many people show up for being such a small thing.”

NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: TRAVIS LOOSE - Sandy Cardenas, 11, watches as Shad Petersen jumps over her on his motorcycle on opening day of the 2015 Washington County Fair. 'I felt awesome and scared at the same time,' Cardenas said.The Washington County Fair runs through Sunday, Aug. 2, at the county fairplex, 873 N.E. 34th Ave. Parking is $7 this year.