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Static exhibit judging for Stutsman County 4-H begins before Stutsman County Fair opens

The judging is being held the week before the fair opens.

county fair chicken bath
Morgan Baldwin, center, gets some help from her mother, Candy Baldwin and Haylee Widman, right, while bathing her chicken in preparation for 4-H judging at the 2019 Stutsman County Fair. John M. Steiner / The Sun

Stutsman County 4-H members will get their static exhibits judged on Friday, June 25, something new this year, said Robin Barnes, 4-H program coordinator.

Typically they are judged the week that the Stutsman County Fair opens but this year they decided to try something different. Many of the youth are also entering animals and having the static exhibits judged earlier may help them, Barnes said.

“We thought we’d try it on Friday and see how it works,” she said.

Static exhibits are anything that is not animals. The 4-H member with the static exhibit has to speak to a judge about his or her entry and is judged on a standard, not against other entrants, Barnes said.

The Stutsman County Fair officially opens to the public on Wednesday, June 30. The static exhibits and the Open Class exhibits may be viewed in the Russ Melland building.

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Rhonda Michel is the organizational leader for the Country Kids 4-H Club. She said she has been a leader for 14 years and currently has 18 members ranging in age from 5-13. Most of the members will enter the fair this year, primarily in static exhibits.

“It’s a great program for kids to participate in because the variety of activities that kids can do is mind-boggling,” she said. “There’s just so much for them to be able to do.”

Barnes agrees.

“4-H isn’t just about farm animals anymore,” Barnes said. “They do a lot of different things. … If kids have an interest in something, you can probably find a 4-H program for it.”

More members

The number of Stutsman County 4-H members is growing and many are participating in the Stutsman County Fair, Barnes said.

There are 229 members in 16 clubs, she said.

“This year we have 167 of those 229 that entered the fair,” she said. “It is wonderful.”

When Barnes started working in the program seven years ago there were 140 members.

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While the annual 4-H contests that usually take place during the fair were held last year despite the coronavirus pandemic and the fair’s cancellation, participation was at about 50 percent of normal, she said.

“I think this year everybody’s just ready to get out and go. Those that didn’t compete last year have missed a year so they’re excited to get going,” Barnes said.

Popular events

Barnes said the Wiener Dog Races planned at 1:30 p.m. July 3 are among the popular events and noted the races aren’t limited to 4-H members. Anyone can participate, she said.

“The more dogs the better. We need people to bring them on out and have some fun,” Barnes said.

Also a large draw is the market livestock premium sale on Friday night, July 2.

“We have an auction for the kids to be able to recoup some of the funds that they’ve spent on their animal getting them ready for the show,” Barnes said. “And it’s also a marketing experience for them because they need to market these animals ahead of time in order to get bidders to bid on them.”

Horse show

The 4-H horse show on Tuesday, June 29, will feature for the first time a memorial to Falynne Karlowsky, 18, Cleveland, who died in a car accident in 2020. Karlowsky had been active in 4-H for a long time, Barnes said.

“She was very active in our horse club, our horse committee felt that they wanted to do something in memory of her,” she said.

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A ribbon will be awarded in a memorial class, to be decided, she said.

“It’s a memorial that we are going to award to one rider that competes from the different age groups and competes for this memorial ribbon,” Barnes said. “We have purchased ribbons in order to hold this event for a few years.”

There are 18 4-H members exhibiting horses, Barnes said. There are 15 classes with three age groups in each of the classes for the horse show, although the number competing in the classes will vary.

“Spectators are welcome,” Barnes said. “Come and watch.”

Barnes said each of the classes is judged on specific criteria “and it’s always about working with your horse together, to be a team and to do things the proper way.”

Other animal shows

The poultry, rabbit and alpaca/llama shows will be on June 30. The swine, sheep and goat shows will be July 1. The dairy and beef shows will be July 2.

Memorial mural

There will also be a new mural representing 4-H on display during the fair for the first time that’s expected to be placed there each year, Barnes said.

Three people who thought 4-H was important donated memorial funds, Barnes said, so the 4-by-16 mural was created by Rosemary Gasal and Ben Gasal in their memory. It will be on display near one of the buildings.

“They did a great job,” Barnes said.

The mural features “everything 4-H,” Barnes said.

Learn more

There are 74 volunteers who help with the 16 Stutsman County 4-H clubs.

Tonia Kjellberg, organizational leader for the Trailblazers 4-H Club, was involved in 4-H when she was growing up and her three sons are currently, one as a leader in the club. She has been involved for at least 15 years, she said. She said 4-H teaches young people leadership, offers hands-on opportunities and the members also educate the public about topics like farm animals. Her club members helped during the recent Dairy Day at Dr. Dawn’s Pet Stop, she said, answering questions about the cattle.

“They learn a lot of skills in 4-H that you don’t always get just hanging out at home with your mom and dad,” Kjellberg said.

Barnes said if anyone is interested in volunteering and helping judge events, which also occur in the spring, help is always needed. People can contact her at the Stutsman County Extension office at 252-9030.

“It’s such a good program,” Barnes said. “The kids learn so much. They just learn good things and how to be good people.”

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