Mark and Michelle Prechter have been named the 2018 Family of the Year by the Nevada County Fair’s Board of Directors. The Board chose the Prechter Family for their ongoing commitment to and participation in the livestock program at the Nevada County Fair.
Mark and Michelle, who met and married in Montana, moved to Nevada County in 2000. Mark, who had grown up showing in 4-H, took Michelle to the Nevada County Fair and they immediately fell in love with the tree covered grounds, the friendly atmosphere and Treat Street. Michelle remembers that first Fair, where she was pregnant with their first child, and “eating her way through Treat Street.” After buying some property and a small herd of cattle, they quickly became involved in agriculture and soon the Nevada County Fair.
That involvement increased as they had children. Today, they have helped at the Fair in the show arenas, volunteered at the Foundation Station, served as leaders in the barns, and are strong advocates for youth in agriculture. They also spend countless hours in the livestock barns helping their two girls prepare their animals for the Fair.
The Prechters, who will celebrate their 18th wedding anniversary this year, have two daughters – Maddie and Rylee – who are also active in the Fair. Both girls have been competing at the Fair since they were five years old showing everything from pygmy goats to market eggs to entering the ugliest cake contest. The last several years the girls have shown market steer, and this year Rylee will show a market lamb and Maddie will show a market steer and Angus Heifers. Both girls have their own breeding stock and have placed in the top 10 with the California Junior Livestock Association. Maddie graduated this year and will attend Butte College to study Animal Science and Ag Business, and Rylee is a Sophomore at Bear River who also loves volleyball.
“The Fair is important to us because it has taught our girls to stay humble when they win and to be gracious when they lose,” says Michelle. “Raising livestock and having the opportunity to show animals at the Nevada County Fair has taught them responsibility, given them confidence, and, most importantly, how to work together as a team.”
When asked about their favorite memory at the Fair, Michelle says there are several. “Being at the Fair is a vacation in a crazy kind of way. It’s our time together and it’s us working alongside our friends and community. We look back on all the years we’ve been at the Fair and we realize what a significant impact it’s had on our lives and the raising of our children.”
Her other favorite memory happened in 2014 when Maddie won Supreme Champion Steer and Rylee won Reserve Supreme Champion Steer. And last year, 2017, Maddie and Rylee both won Large Animal Master Showmanship (Maddie won the FFA Large Animal Master Showmanship and Rylee won the 4-H Large Animal Master Showmanship). Says Michelle, “they are an amazing team, work great together and always help each other reach their goals.”
When not at the Fair, the Prechters lead an equally busy schedule. In addition to working full time raising commercial cattle (that small herd has grown and become a full-time business), Mark is a full-time farrier and Michelle is a preschool teacher at United Auburn Indian Community. They are also members of the Nevada County Livestock Producers and Michelle serves as the secretary of the Bear River FFA Ag Boosters. Additionally, both have served as
4-H Leaders and as Nevada County Beef Advisors.
The Prechter Family will be honored at the Fair’s opening ceremony and will also receive a family portrait by Shaffers Originals of Grass Valley. This year’s Nevada County Fair is August 8 – 12.