July 24, 2016

Mostly cloudy

Man travels to fairs all over Ohio showing prize-winning flock

MEDINA — For more than six decades, Dick Matlack has crisscrossed Ohio to show off his prize-winning sheep and lambs at hundreds of county fairs.

Now it’s Medina County’s turn for a visit.

Dick Matlack, 78, of Mount Gilead, trims a Dorset ram Monday morning at the Medina County Fairgrounds. Matlack has been attending county fairs in Ohio for more than six decades. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY STEVE GRAZIER)

Matlack, 78, of Mount Gilead in central Ohio, said Monday he attends about a dozen fairs in the Buckeye State each summer. It’s a streak he started more than 65 years ago.

In addition to his love of his animals, there’s another reason Matlack attends so many fairs.

“It’s the money,” he said, smiling.

In Knox County last week, Matlack netted $900 for numerous first-, second- and third-place showings.

He said prize money varies from fair to fair.

“Medina is a better-paying fair than last week,” he said.

Next week he’ll be in Richland County.

Raising livestock has been a family tradition for some time, Matlack said. As a youth, his father had about 250 ewes at one time.

“Usually, my grandkids are out here, too, but they all got jobs now,” said Matlack, who has 75 animals on his Morrow County farm. He’s showing 32 of his animals at the Medina fair.

Matlack said he travels to fairs weekly during summer in a truck hauling a gooseneck trailer. He takes a sleeping bag, refrigerator, microwave and dozens of canned goods on the road.

Most fair officials know Matlack by name. They generally save a spot for him to keep his livestock. Most times he stays the night in close proximity to his animals.

It’s a lot of work to take care of so many animals.

“When you got 32 head, you don’t get out of the barn,” he said.

Contact Steve Grazier at (330) 721-4012 or sgrazier@medina-gazette.com.