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From left, Lyla Bybee and Cierra Monsees pose near the Missouri Electric Cooperative Building Saturday morning on the Missouri State Fairgrounds. The two cousins are spending the 11 days of the Missouri State Fair working together as members of the Fair’s marketing department. 

For those who work at the Missouri State Fair, many coworkers truly are like family. Even though the time spent together may only be for 11 days bonds of friendship become part of a lasting tradition of keeping in touch long after the Fair concludes.

For Cierra Monsees and Lyla Bybee, members of the fair’s marketing department, the family bonds are literally true. The two cousins are spending their fair experience helping to make the Missouri State Fair the best it can be for visitors and guests.  

The Marketing Department has three full-time staff members, Marketing Director Kari Mergen, Public Information Specialist Cierra Monsees and Marketing Assistant Erin Mifflin, and four interns who begin work in early June and work full-time over the summer. As the date of the Fair draws closer the office staff increase to 13 members for the 11-day run. Bybee is one of those employees.

“Cierra asked me if this (working in the marketing office) was something I would consider doing,” Bybee said. “I was excited and willing because I love the fair and it’s even better because I get to spend my time working with my cousin who is more like a sister to me. I am even staying at her house some days during the Fair.”

Bybee is no stranger to agriculture. She has been active in showing cattle, pigs, chickens, goats and sheep during the last decade. This summer was her final year showing at the Pettis County Junior Livestock Show.

“Since I wasn’t showing at the State Fair this year Cierra asked me to join her team for the 11-day event,” Bybee explained. “I have been working on Data Entry for competition photos and other times I’m out and about helping around the grounds.

“I spent a lot of time on the Monsees Farm as a child and grew up watching my cousins Trevor and Cierra show cattle,” Bybee continued. “As soon as I was old enough I started showing and fell in love with it.”

Like her cousin, Monsees showed livestock in her youth. She too has a deep love of the Fair.

“I grew up coming to the Fair every year,” Monsees noted. “I did my internship in the summer of 2016 and my biggest responsibilities were media and sponsor relations.”

Monsees started part-time in April 2017 and after finishing college that May she began working full time for the Missouri State Fair Marketing Department.    

“The best part about working in the Marketing Department is that I actually get to see the Fair in action,” Monsees explained. “Our office is in charge of many special events such as Opening Day Ceremony, Opening Day Parade, Homegrown Singer Contest, Governor’s Ham Breakfast and many smaller events and contests. It’s really fun being behind the scenes and watching our events succeed each year.”

Days after the fair ends, Monsess and Bybee will say goodbye for the immediate future.  Monsees will remain with her work in the department while Bybee will attend Missouri Valley College on a track scholarship. She plans to major in biology and hopes in the future to work in conservation.

The two will not be far from each other’s thoughts even if separated by the miles.

“Lyla and I both agree that the best part is just seeing each other every day,” Monsees noted. “Growing up it’s hard to remember a time that we weren’t at each other’s houses.

“As we’ve grown older and became busier it’s hard to find time to get together as much as we used to,” she continued. “I love having Lyla in the office because she knows exactly how to make me laugh and keep me sane.”

Education Reporter

Hope Lecchi is the education reporter for the Democrat, covering all things education in Sedalia and Pettis County, as well as providing general assignment and feature coverage. She can be reached at 660-530-0144.

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