Havre Daily News
A generation of faces will light up when Ginnie Reynolds rides in the grand entry before the rodeo begins Saturday evening at the Great Northern Fair.
Reynolds is being honored this year by the Great Northern Fair Board for her past work on the board, and also for supporting 4-H for nearly 45 years.
The board honors somebody every few years when there's a good candidate, so that it's special, not perfunctory, fair manager Tim Solomon said.
Board members and those who know Reynolds agree that she is a good choice.
Reynolds stood outside the Horse Pavilion on Wednesday, where she has stood at some time or other every year at fair time for decades. On Wednesday, she was there with her granddaughter, Meredith Hanson, who was preparing to compete in two events, Western Horsemanship and Senior Horse Showmanship.
Hanson is the second generation of Reynolds' family that Reynolds has helped through 4-H, and one of dozens of children fair board members say Reynolds has guided.
Hanson went on to be grand champion in Western Horsemanship 3 and reserve champion in Senior Showmanship.
As Reynolds stood by the Horse Pavilion, Laura Barkley, 11, approached her with a question. Barkley's horse, Lucky, was not drinking water and she wanted to know what to do.
Onlookers had a few suggestions. "Haul water from home," one said.
But Barkley had already tried that, had tried flavoring the water and tried giving electrolytes.
"Try a salt lick," Reynolds suggested.
Barkley hadn't thought of it, andall agreed it was a good suggestion.
Reynolds moved to Havre in 1969 from Northern California already familiar with horses and caring for horses. She grew up in Yosemite National Park, where her father worked as the park physician, and she and her siblings rode thousands of miles of trails there.
But caring for other animals besides horses - sheep and chickens, for instance - was new to her, Reynolds said.
She learned "the hard way, with lots of good help," she said.
Since then, she's been supporting 4-H by teaching children, judging events and being on hand whenever questions arise.
In the 1980s, Reynolds joined the Great Northern Fair Board.
"She's a person that sees something that needs to be done and does it," board member Alma Siedel said.
"I don't know of anybody who is more dedicated and more enthusiastic and has such a desire to help people and especially young people," former board chair Bob Sivertsen said. "When you're working with her, you can't help but get enthused because she's always enthusiastic. She walks with a spring in her walk. She's bubbly. She's just that type of person."
One project board members remember Reynolds working on tirelessly was raising money for the Bigger Better Barn.
The barn was finally constructed in 1987, after months of fundraising and the slow process of taking the building down in Malta and hauling it to Havre to be rebuilt.
In order to raise money for the barn, Reynolds and other board members worked with two local grocery stores, Buttrey's and Gary & Leo's IGA. Every product in the stores was given a coupon that meant that with each sale, money went to buying the barn. Reynolds, other board members and the 4-H clubs taped coupons onto every product in both store for 18 months.
Reynolds said the effort raised about $54,000, roughly a third the cost of the barn.
Looking back, Reynolds calls the circumstances that brought her family to Havre "serendipity."
Her husband, Stuart, a retired surgeon, had been working in Sacramento, Calif., at the time. He saved the life of a man who had attempted suicide. The man's stepson, who lived in Havre, came to visit him, Reynolds said.
When the stepson talked to Stuart, he said Havre needed a surgeon. Within a year, the Reynolds family had moved, Ginnie said.