Muchoneys share Evergreen State Fair honoree spotlight
August 27, 2008 · Updated 5:27 PM
Born and raised in Everett, the Evergreen State Fair has been home to Ann Muchoney nearly all of her life. Her husband of 23 years, Tom Muchoney was born in Pennsylvania, but moved to this area after serving in the Air Force. Together, they have discovered a passion that has brought them both to the fair year-after-year serving as doting parents, Assistant Superintendents, and eventually running the Swine Barn.
While growing up, Anns mother was the head clerk at the Draft Board and her father worked as a carpenter. They lived in Machias, about a half mile from her grandparents farm where they raised Guernsey cows, selling the milk to Darigold. At 18, Ann moved to Everett and attended the business college there.
Ann married and had a son, Torrey, but later, as a single mom, moved back into her grandparents home to care for her grandmother. With this land, Torrey, now 13, was able to raise pigs. They bought a male and female, which Ann laughs remembering how they were turned away at the veterinarians office when they went to have the male castrated. He had already been. We obviously werent sure about what we were doing, said Ann. That year, Torrey showed at the fair through the Snohomish FFA. He learned so much that year. Torrey created a report about vaccinations which he did so well. He was artistic, so the experience was great for him.
Tom and Ann had met by this time, married and eventually had more children: Tara, Theresa and Tyler. Tara became involved through 4-H. This is where the parents always get pulled into the programs. The kids had cows and pigs, with which Tom and Ann would help care for them and assist the kids in preparing to show. The first year the couple became involved, Ann was pregnant with Tyler, so she and her grandmother came for only a few days. The following year, Tyler was in a backpack, grandmother was in a wheelchair and the whole family was in full swing. After that, we came every year.
That was Cathy Ferrells last year as the 4-H leader in that department, so she asked Tom to replace her. Some of the changes Tom has made since the promotion are including a Sow and Litter Display. We had a sow named Bessie that came with us for nine years she had umpteen million babies. One year, right after Bessie had a litter, Tom would put her right in the front of the barn for display. One of kids, Justin Evans, created a sign that said Sow & Litter Display FFA and it became permanent. In those earlier years, Tom and Bessie would simply walk the fairgrounds together. People loved it.
Tom also did away with Herdsmanship to make it less of a competition and more of a group activity. This way, 4-H, FFA and Open Class can all work together to care for the whole barn. There is more circulation; shifts are shorter and there is more time to do fun things, Ann explained. The thing that I like best about the Swine Barn is the sense of family there is closeness; and it became a full family experience for everyone.
I like the way our kids learn how to work well together, said Tom. Matter of fact, we have a sign posted that came from one of the commissioners that says, You never get a second chance to make a first impression. I like helping the kids with that kind of thinking.
As for the being named the 2007 Fair Honorees, Ann said, I was shocked. I had it in my mind that it was to be someone else, so even when they described us it wasnt until they said, Tom and Ann Muchoney that I understood it was us. I am used to giving awards, not receiving them. This is very special. I am really honored.
Yep, we were dumfounded, added Tom, This is very cool.
Today, Ann works as a Rural Letter Carrier and Tom, after 25 years, is still working with Boeing in Research and Development. This year, they will be recognized at the Aug. 23 Opening Day Ceremony (2 p.m.) for all of the volunteer hours they have donated and for the many lives they have touched. Congratulations, Ann and Tom Muchoney.