‘Big showcase of the year’

State Fair culmination of agriculture, other projects for 4-H members

When the Kenmare Trail Blazers 4-H Club members enter their projects in the North Dakota State Fair in Minot this month it will be a first for them.

Emily Goff, NDSU Extension agent-Ward County, said the Trail Blazers are a new club in Ward County and this will be their first year as a club at the State Fair.

Overall, 4-H members from counties across the state enter thousands of exhibits – static exhibits or animals – at the State Fair. Their awards range from grand champion, reserve and honorable mention to blue, red and white ribbons.

4-H clubs are open to youth who live in the rural areas and in the cities, said Goff, who is the 4-H youth development agent. “We’re open to everybody,” she said. She said Gasmann Helping Hands Club meets in Minot and has many members who live in the city. Others meeting in Minot include Afton Country Kids and Dakota Stars, the latter also meeting in Des Lacs.

Ward County has 14 4-H clubs and anyone who is a member can show their static exhibits and/or animals at the State Fair.

“This is the big showcase of the year. They’ve been working on these projects all year long,” said Goff. “They’ve been working with their animals and they’ve put together their static exhibits. Some of them have been working on their projects since last year. I like to call it the big showcase where everybody’s hard work gets to be displayed,” Goff said.

Agriculture exhibits 4-H members enter at the State Fair include beef cattle, some dairy cattle, swine, sheep, goats – both dairy and meat, poultry and rabbits, crop exhibits and animal science exhibits including many posters about animals and how to take care of them.

In the past Goff said 4-H members have made equipment for their animals such as a saddle rack for their horse or a lambing jugs (small pens made of barrels).

Other exhibits entered at the fair include cookies, bars, cakes and pies, along with quilting, sewing – anything with needle arts, creative arts including ceramics and photography, outdoor skills such as birdwatching and anything related to camping, forestry, archery and outdoors, jerky making and money management, computer science and technology, geocaching, environmental, earth science, geology, entomology, citizenship and personal development.

“One girl looked up her family heritage and made a big family tree. She went back to the generations,” Goff said.

Goff joined NDSU Extension-Ward County in Minot in March 2017. Previously she was an Extension agent-in-training with NDSU Extension in Eddy, Foster and Wells counties. Born in Fargo, she grew up in Minnesota where she was a 4-H member. Prior, she was an intern at her home county in Minnesota.

4-H clubs in Ward County have existed for various years. The Trail Blazers of Kenmare are the newest club in Ward County. They held their first meeting last September. “They started a club from scratch,” Goff said. She said one family involved in that club has said they just love how all of them as a family can work together and be active in their community.

“This year was their first Achievement Days for those new families and this will be their first State Fair,” Goff said.

Some 4-H clubs in the county have existed for many years. The names of some clubs have changed over the years.

The oldest 4-H clubs in Ward County are the Peppers, originally the Pepperettes, of the Berthold area, and Rocky Acres in the Max area, Goff said. The two clubs originated in the 1940s and the 1950s, according to Ward County Extension information.

Goff first attended the State Fair in Minot about two years ago when she was an agent in training. She said the fair is community friendly and for some families who camp at the fairgrounds during the fair it’s “basically their family reunion.”