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Terry and Kegley's lives center on helping 4-H youth

August 25, 2010 | 08:40 AM
East Troy — For Terry and Dianne Kegley, of rural East Troy, the Walworth County Fair has been a lifelong commitment.

They were active in the Fair and the local 4-H as children.

As a youngster, Terry would show livestock at the fair, and was named Outstanding 4-H Boy, had a Grand Champion Barrow and was Senior Leadership President.

Dianne, also in 4-H, entered her products in the Home Furnishing and Clothing categories, and did some showing in the Dairy division.

Now longtime fairgoers and grandparents, on Sept. 1, the Kegleys will be among the honorary marshals to cut the ribbon and welcome Walworth County to its 161st Fair.

Asked about their selection as this year's honorary marshals, the Kegleys were modest.

"I never gave it a thought," Terry said.

"It was a very big surprise," said Dianne.

"We're not in it for rewards. We just enjoy working with the youth," Terry said.

Terry and Dianne met through 4-H. Dianne and her sister were on the 4-H livestock judging team, and Terry was a livestock judging coach. He also drove teams to competitions. They began seeing each other shortly after a drive to a competition in Madison. The Kegleys were married July 6, 1960, and celebrated their 50th anniversary this year. They first worked a hog farm in East Troy. In 1968, they moved to their current farm and began milking Holstein and raising Berkshire hogs.

They have two sons, Kevin and Kurt.

Terry has been a 4-H leader for more than 45 years, and was Swine Superintendent at the Fair. He helped found the Southeast Wisconsin Pork Producers, served on the Berkshire National Board, and was a member of the East Troy School Board.

Dianne has been a 4-H leader for at least as many years as Terry, and was instrumental is starting the East Troy FFA Alumni, and has worked in both the Wisconsin State Fair and Walworth County Fair offices.

The Kegleys sell show calves to local 4-H and FFA members and in 1990 they started Kegley Show Supplies. They travel across the Midwest's show circuit selling grooming products for show livestock.

The Kegleys said they found the Fair to be a character builder.

"I've seen it time and time again," said Terry. "Those kids excel in whatever they do. I think a lot of that comes from their fair responsibilities."

Dianne said that one of the best things about the Fair is how it involves whole families.

The Kegleys have two sons and seven grandchildren. They enjoy following their progress as the third generation competes in the show ring.

Terry got involved in 4-H through his ag teacher, Merrill Pinch and Dianne said a classmate convinced her to join. They've never regretted it.

"I like working with the kids," said Dianne. She said some of the girls showed her their projects before they were judged. One girl sent her blue ribbon chocolate cake home for Terry, Dianne said.

Terry said the cake would have won a blue ribbon from him, too.

Dianne judges home furnishings, child development and youth leadership, but she doesn't judge in Walworth County. Terry judges beef cattle now, and some swine, but also not in Walworth County.

The Kegleys have been recognized by the World Beef Expo, was recognized as Friends of the Breed by the Wisconsin Hereford Association and the local FFA recognized them for their fundraising to help finance FFA projects. In early August, the Terry Kegley was recognized by the Wisconsin State Fair for his contributions to rural youth.

The plaque with his name is now at the Tommy Thompson Center on the fairgrounds in Milwaukee.

Terry said it's a gratifying feeling to know that he's helped kids through 4-H who now have kids of their own. "They still come back and look to you for guidance," he said.

The Kegleys have two sons, Kurt, who is farming at the Kegley Farm, and Kevin, who lays gas line for KS Engergy of New Berlin. They also have seven grandchildren, five boys and two girls. The oldest grandson is serving in Afghanistan with the Marines.

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