Turning dreams into realities at the state level

By: 
Brittany Hamilton

E

very year in August, many Weston County 4-H and FFA families look forward to traveling to Douglas, Wyo., to compete at the Wyoming State Fair in livestock events, static exhibit judgings, contests, and to have some good old-fashioned fun! Some laughingly call this their show-cation before school starts! Outside the ring, members and parents can connect with friends and families from across the state. 

This year did not disappoint as 14 youth from Weston County took all their hard work, determination, and dreams to Douglas to turn them into realities. Among those participating in contests were: Hailey Wehri (4-H and FFA), breeding beef; Rachel Sweet (4-H and FFA), breeding wool sheep; JJ Lipp (FFA), breeding beef; Cooper Miller (4-H), breeding & market cattle; Jorie Miller (4-H Tumbleweeds), breeding cattle; Jace Rich (4-H), market beef & swine; Colby Rich (4-H), market swine; Reagan Redding (4-H), market sheep; Serenity Kline (4-H), rabbits; Ethan Parsons (4-H), rabbits; Tony Farley (4-H), dog; John Farley (4-H), dog; Audrey Williams (4-H), Fashion Revue Contest; and Laura Lipp (4-H), Fashion Revue Contest

Weston County also had several static exhibitors represent us well in projects such as baking, cake decorating, archery, self-determined, welding, photography, etc. Members must earn a state fair blue or purple at county to have their exhibit advance to state. 

As a 4-H educator, it is awesome to see our kids participate at this higher level of competition. Outside the ring and behind the stage, hours of prep work, learning, prayers, hard knocks, small victories, and other life lessons are wrapped up in these projects. To see our youth grow as individuals, gain resolve and character, display sportsmanship against bitter disappointment at times, and celebrate hard-earned victories for themselves or others are just a few of the fruits of these programs and upper level competition. County fair provides these experiences as well, but I believe the experiences are amplified more when competing on the next level, and it requires even more determination and commitment if one wants to take a win at state. It doesn’t matter if it is sports, 4-H, or a speech contest, if a member really wants to learn and take their skills to the next level, I encourage competing at those upper levels if possible. 

Our county had some exceptional victories at the Wyoming State Fair, many earning top-10 honors in their divisions or classes, and some winning their divisions and classes. Several 4-H and FFA members worked their way into the top ten in showmanship as well, which is difficult to do when competing with 20-plus in some classes. Please visit the Wyoming State Fair website to view official results or refer to the included table for our county’s results. 

The Wyoming State Fair is not the only higher-level contest Weston County youth competed in this year. There were five youth who also participated in the Wyoming 4-H State Shoot held in Douglas this past July. Among those competing were: Tevon White, Shotgun, Outdoor Skills; Trevon White, Shotgun, Outdoor Skills; John Farley, Shotgun, Muzzleloader, Air and .22 Pistol
and Rifle, Archery, Outdoor Skills; Tony Farley, Shotgun, Muzzleloader, Air and .22 Pistol and Rifle, Archery, Outdoor Skills; and Ethan Parsons, Archery.

John Farley and Tony Farley also represented Wyoming on this year’s 4-H National Shooting Sports Championships held in Grand Island, Neb., in June.  

As summer has come to a close and many of our youth have returned to school and to fall sports, their 4-H and FFA competitive experience may also come to a close for the season. However, I know many are already looking at their next projects, planning, budgeting, and researching. Some will continue to show through the fall at the Western Junior Livestock Show held in Rapid City, S.D., and the NILE in Billings, Mont., which are both held in October. Some may even compete on a national level. Others will select their projects for 2021-2022 later this year and try once again to turn their dreams into realities both at the county level and beyond.

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