The members of Young Pierce County 4-H gathered July 7-10 at the Pierce County Fairgrounds for Achievement Days, an event they’ve been waiting for all year.
Members displayed items from handmade furniture to artwork and bakery items during the first day of the event.
Items on display for the 4-H stationary exhibits ranged from dozens of eggs from hen arrivals to flower arrangements and furniture.
One of the sculpture, an anchor design made of beer bottle caps, received a blue ribbon.
On the other side of a table filled with pictures of wildlife, livestock and clouds, contestants sat down with judges to describe their work in all sorts of categories.
Priya Brussart waited her turn to speak to baking judge Jessa Ostrem about her entry to decorate the cake. Prosart grabbed a cylinder made of foam board decorated with snow-white and peach.
“I used vanilla cream,” Brossart, an eighth-grader, said of her entry. “I colored it orange and pink.”
She said she’s been in 4-H for two years.
“This is my third year. In the first two years, I won two top champ awards in year one and got a reserve champ in the second,” She said.
“Then in state, I got an orange stripe,” She said about a cactus rock garden she entered at the North Dakota State Fair.
“It’s fun to enter competitions,” She said.
Carter Teigen received a blue ribbon for his Dutch apple pie.
“All in all, it took a while to make this pie—just over an hour and a half,” He said.
“I peeled and cut the apple slices by hand,” he added. “For the crust, I used flour, ghee, a bit of sugar and some salt. And I added some water to moisten it. And it turned out well.”
Teigen said he stuffed his peeled and sliced apples into the pie with a mixture of brown sugar, white sugar, and flour. He added cinnamon, brown sugar, white sugar and a little water to the apple filling.
“This is the fifth year to enter the competitions,” said Teigen, a freshman at Rugby High School.
“I’ve won a few big champs, reserve champs, and blues” He said about past competitions.
Teigen said he also entered a family tree drawn on the poster board.
“I did it to find out more about my family tree and find out where I come from,” He said.
Sadina Buhl, a mother of 4, Bentley and Bryant helped put their entries on a display table.
“This is the English option,” Sadina Bohl said about a dish of locally grown vegetables. “It’s pollen-free, so it doesn’t need bees to germinate.”
Bryant Paul said the cucumbers grew in the basement of his family’s home. He and his family began harvesting it in April, while the ground outside was still frozen.
“We use grow lights,” He said.
“We put them in pots in our basement and they planted six seeds in each pot and put on grow lights, and they just grew,” Sadina Buhl added. “After about a month, they started producing. From now on, we will do it in the winter so we will have fresh produce all winter.”
Bryant Paul said he and his brother enjoy 4-H activities and competitions.
He also loved the vegetable growing project.
“I like to eat cucumbers all year long,” He said.
“We mix it with vinegar, oil and Alpine Touch seasoning and we get vinegar salads” Sadina Buhl said. We are tired of waiting for the harvest. So, in the winter, we can just say, “Let’s have a salad now.”
4-H’s dad Brad Wangler walked around the shows with his wife Ashley and kids.
Wangler said his children Beasley, Paxton, Pendleton and Pius were busy during the year “All kinds of different things” achievement days.
“Each child had at least six items they brought with them,” He said. “Paisley’s Baked Coconut Macaroons. They have sports here. They have an old wooden reel that’s been repurposed into a kid-sized shooting seat; they got an old tailgate from an old Chevy pickup truck they’ve converted into a bench to sit on.”
Wangler pointed to a wooden spool made into a table topped with epoxy resin, with cup holders cut into four edges of the circle and playing card decor.
Wangler said as he walked to the show table, “Bios made a battery out of dirt. He also made a simple motor out of wire and some magnets.”
He pointed to a set of wires created to power a small fan-shaped object that seemed to spin in the air.
“It’s a very primitive motor but it teaches them the basics of the electrical stuff,” He said.
Next to the engine was placed an ice tray filled with dirt, each section carrying a nail with copper wire.
“Turn on the light bulb,” He said. “Ashley helped him with this.”
Wangler said, “I can’t believe the creativity from these kids across the board of all ages for members of 4-H. Even the youngest kids in this have great things to do.”
Wangler said parental involvement played a major role in the projects.
“That’s what makes this so good,” He said. “You almost have to help your kids by teaching them and showing them how to do these things.
“Often you’re not really going to take that extra time out of your schedule for them, because you can do these things in a fraction of the time you take to explain it to them,” He said. “So, it’s a real test of patience, but the rewards are so great that they’re worth it.”
Judges Ustream and Brian Wilk said they were impressed by the quality of the baked goods.
“It’s good to hear where the recipes come from and that many of them have family roots for the recipes,” Welk, the special education teacher who judged the entrances for children aged 8 to 12 said. “It’s nice to hear the kids’ stories about how the process went into all of that, so that’s great.”
Ustream, an occupational therapist who judged items presented by teens, said, “I love baking, so it’s so fun to see the kids have a passion for this too.”
The next day, the members gathered with their pets and small livestock in the new building that would be called Don Jelsing Ag and Event Center later that evening.
That day saw fewer animals entering than usual due to an outbreak of bird flu that banned the display of chickens and other birds.
However, an Australian mix of Shepard and Corgi named Diesel also starred in the show, earning a large reserve bar for the champ.
On July 8, the last day of 4-H performances, seventh grader Sawyer Prosart cleaned his wheel.
“I like to show animals and be with my friends,” He said, adding that he hopes to have her one day.
Dan Brossart, Sawyer’s father, said his children have been involved in 4-H for years.
“Sawyer loves 4-H and my eldest son, Jackson, both love it,” He said.
“Sawyer really loves his birds. We have a lot of birds, but he can’t bring them to the show this year,” He said, adding that his son had a hatchery for ducks and chickens.
“We raise crops and livestock,” he added. “Boys love cattle. They love being a part of it.”
Garlands, ribbons, and colorful tags decorate each animal’s barn. Morgan Sher, who showed two calves and a cow, offered the names of her animals: Lola, with calves Dandelion and Daffodil.
The animal competitions began with five and six-year-old Cloverbuds showing their calves.
Rella and Raygan showed Hagar their pigs.
“Black and white Hampshire is mine, and his name is Link” Rila Hajar said. “It’s like sausage links.”
“The red and white pig, her name is maple, for maple syrup,” She said. “They were born in January.”
Hager said her family would slaughter pigs for meat when they weighed 285 pounds.
“This is my fifth year of raising pigs,” She said. “I love to show them and watch them grow.”
Hager won the Grand Champion for Livestock events.
“Everyone did a really good job and it was fun” said Hajar, a high school student at Rugby. “I love 4-H. I have been in five years.”
Mark Miller, NDSU Extension Agent for Rowlett County, judged the 4-H Livestock Shows.
“I’ve been doing this for three years,” Miller said. “Since I started, the kids have made a huge improvement.
“Children are learning and parents are doing well with these children,” he added. “The 4-H leaders are doing a good job.”