By Don Ogle 

Artist's brush paints the town for county fair


Keith Hansen

Painter Cindi Egging applies her talents to store windows to celebrate the upcoming Cheyenne County Fair. She has been painting for 12 years and is working with Sidney's 4-H Wranglers.

By observing the signs showing up in store fronts around town, it doesn't take long to get the idea a special event is rapidly approaching.

That's the idea behind the work of artist Cindi Egging, who has spent the last couple of weeks painting those signs, announcing the impending arrival of the Cheyenne County Fair and Rodeo.

Since 2002, Egging has taken on the task of painting the windows of businesses showing support for the county fair. She's missed a couple of years, but has adorned the windows for 12 years.

Horses, horseshoes, fences and cowboys are part of the repertoire, chosen by businesses showing support – not only for the fair, but for 4-H members using the painting project as a fundraiser for activities.

"The kids sell the windows," Egging said. "They go to Potter, Gurley, Dalton and Sidney. And while it's not in Cheyenne County, there are even a few in Chappell."

On average, Egging said she does around 150 windows. This week, as the temperature reached triple digits, she also reached the century mark on this year's orders.

Egging said when approaching businesses about window paintings, 4-H members carry with them packets of pictures depicting sample choices. All are fair-related, and many people stick to standard designs. But for some, the "artist's choice" brings an extra flourish.

"For those I try to work the business into the theme," Egging said.

Cost for window paintings range from $25 to $65, in 10-dollar increments. Egging receives a portion of the proceeds for her work, with the rest going to the Wrangler 4-H Club.

Egging taught for 14 years and somewhere along the line, "it was my summer job," she said.

She enjoys the work, but with the task coming as summer's heat rises, it takes a certain amount of planning.

"I have my morning windows and my afternoon windows," Egging said. As the Sun-Telegraph caught up with her for a picture this week she happened to be doing a window on the south side of Illinois, "but there was a big awning, so it wasn't so bad."

As part of the process, Egging had to learn what paint worked best. She now uses a professional acrylic paint, which lasts under the elements.

In some instances the paintings have lasted very well. She said one business had basically the same paint for seven or eight years, with periodic touch-ups helping it stay fresh.

Most businesses don't keep the signs up that long and for those, she said removal isn't too bad.

"It comes off it you spray it good with a hose or use a razor blade to scrape it," Egging said.

With the current economy, Egging said they didn't know how many businesses might participate this year, "but there sure seems to be a lot of support."

The paintings draw a lot of interest from passers-by, as well. Egging said she has had a number of people watch her for a bit, and a number of them have commented as they realize the fair is coming soon.

One person glad for both the support and the interest is Michelle McMillen, one of the Wrangler Club leaders.

McMillen said the funds raised by the window paintings helps support a lot of projects, from camps to clinics and personal development trips.

McMillen said as youth work on showmanship for animal projects, the club sometimes funds clinics to provide assistance. Some club members participate in working ranch horse competitions, and the funds allow the club to help cover the costs of cattle owners who allow their animals to be used for practice.

With 30 members and growing, McMillen said there are a lot of uses for the funds. Member projects range from photography to robotics to the more typical beef and other animals for show.

With the approaching fair those members will not only appreciate the fundraising for its monetary benefit, but also for the reminder for folks to turn out July 17-23 to appreciate their hard work in person.


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