Merz crowned Fair King, Male Outstanding 4-Her


By Sheryl Roadcap

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TROY — For Kaden Merz, the second time entering in the Fair Royalty competition was the charm.

Merz was crowned the 2023 Miami County Fair King Queen on Friday, Aug. 11; he was also named as the Outstanding Male 4-Her of the Year immediately following the crowing ceremony.

The 18-year-old graduate of Bethel High School said being crowned king was a surprise but also exciting, especially since last year was the first time he entered the competition.

“It was pretty exciting knowing that I won, but I knew it would be a lot of responsibilities and I would be super busy and tired, but it is fun,” said Merz said, the son of Jessica and Nathan Merz. “This was only my second time doing it. Last year I was like second runner up. I just graduated, but if I wanted to do, I could do another year, but I’m leaving for the Air Force at the end of August.”

He explained that once crowned, the king and queen attend the fair all day, everyday and go around to the barns to pass out ribbons and banners to 4-Hers who are showing their animals. Also, when other county fair royalty visits the Miami County Fair, they give them a tour, show them what they are doing at the fair, as well as give out pins.

He said fair week is one of his favorite times of the year that he hard works to prepare for but is sad when it ends.

“My favorite thing (at the fair) is just showing. I show swine; for the past six years I have shown swine,” said Merz, who is a member of the the Farrow to Finish 4-H Club. “It’s my favorite time of the year, but towards the beginning of the summer it’s not super busy, but once you get to the fair you are rushing trying to get everything together and getting up here. And throughout the whole week, you are exhausted, but you are having lots of fun.”

Other than showing, he also enjoys the barn dances they hold in the evening on certain nights at the fair, and the last dance held on the very last night of the fair.

He noted being sad it’s his last year but also pretty exciting in that fair week it’s “going pretty good” after being named Fair King, Outstanding Male 4-Her and taking the reserve champion spot gilt with his swine — as of Monday evening.

Merz said he is looking forward to joining the U.S. Air Force at the end of the month.

“I’m pretty excited about it. I always kind of wanted to do stuff with planes, so I’ll be working on them,” Merz said.

Merz’s two younger brothers also made the 2023 Miami County Fair court. His brothers Ethan Barnett, 11, was named Fair Prince, and Bentley Barnett, 8, both the sons of Jessica and Nathan Merz, of Bethel, and also the sons of Dan Barnett, was crowned Little Mister.

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