Pondera 4-Hers show well at Marias Four County Fair

15_pp-0191LOTS OF FUN  — Jenna Rodriguez leads her horse in a freestyle event, decked out as The Pink Panther. She won Reserve and Grand champion awards at the Marias Four County Fair.

(Second picture) CHAMPION  — Jayleen Harris, Grand Champion Livestock Showman, poses with reserve Champion Showman, Hanna Manley, following competition at the Marias Fair. She also received a check for $300 from Marias River Electric.

(Third picture) HAPPY CAMPER  — Kenny Habets is all smiles as he and his dog show off some of the hardware he won at the county fair in the Dog Events. He took a first place in Novice A, overall Grand Champion in Showmanship, and Hi-point awards in Dog Project and Dog Project overall.  Photos courtesy of Dan Picard



Special to the I-O By Adele Stenson, Pondera County Extension

The Marias Fair kicked off with cool temperatures, some stiff wind gusts and a few rain showers, but that didn’t dampen spirits of 4-Hers or fair goers, as they participated in a week of fun, learning experiences, and competition. Many 4-H families moved into the fairgrounds on Tuesday night and didn’t leave until Sunday afternoon. A handful of families stayed until the fairgrounds were all cleaned up on Monday morning.

Pondera 4-Hers made a good showing throughout the week. Whether they earned a top award or not, each one had the opportunity to demonstrate concepts they learned throughout the year, make new friends, and gain confidence in their ability to interview and to perform before an audience and judge.

For most events, participants were divided by their age at the beginning of the 4-H year on October 1, 2009. Pre-juniors are 8 to 10 years old, juniors are 11 to 13, and seniors are 14 and up. Some horse show events are divided by age level and others by experience level, as you will notice in the results below. Members participating in any of the 4-H shows were required to complete a project interview on Wednesday.

Project interviews are an important component of the fair, where the 4-Hers discuss with a judge what they learned through the course of the year in each project. Youth are judged on their appearance, presence, communication skills and their project knowledge. They are eligible for best of class interview awards in their age division, regardless of how their final product actually turned out. Sometimes a person learns the most from their failures, and the youth that can express that to the judge can be rewarded in the interview process. Their exhibits are judged separately based on a standard criterion for each type of item.

You will notice in the following results that members may participate in a wide variety of project areas. The shows represent most of the traditional areas, but a walk through the 4-H exhibit building would reveal that the options for projects are limited only by the members’ imaginations.

All Cloverbuds, which are pre-4-Hers age 6 to 8, were recognized at their interviews with ribbons and medals. They participate in several events at the fair, but do not actually compete for awards. Their fair experience is “practice” for when they can compete as 4-H members, and they receive participation ribbons. Pondera Cloverbuds participating at the fair this year were Danny Habets, Teanna Layne, Skylar Connelly, and Hannah Monroe.

Top award winners from Pondera County are as follows:

Austin Stoltz of Valier, a pre-junior member of the Wingina 4-H Club, earned the following awards at the horse show: Grand in Level 1 Bareback Equitation, Grand in Pre-Junior Barrel Racing, Reserve in Pre-Junior Trail, Reserve in Pre-Junior Pole Bending, and Third Place in Level 1 Western Horsemanship and in Western Pleasure. Stoltz also earned Grand Fed Hog in the swine show, which means his hog was considered the best market hog overall.

Brad Holden of Wingina 4-H Club earned Third in Senior Beef Showmanship. He also earned the Certified Hereford Beef award, a Montana Hereford Association award, and the Top 100% Hereford Beef award. Brad was also a member of the First Place Livestock Judging Team.

Brett Peters, a member of Sandrockets 4-H Club in Conrad, earned a Best of Class rosette for the top Poultry Interview in the Senior age division.

Colten Curry of Wingina 4-H Club earned Reserve Champion in the Hen or Pullet category in the Poultry Show.

Dalli Peterson of Wingina 4-H earned Reserve in the Pre-Junior Barrel Racing, Grand in Pre-Junior Pole Bending, and Third in Level 2 Western Horsemanship. In the Rabbit Show, Peterson earned Reserve Champion for her buck rabbit, Grand Champion for her doe rabbit, Third for one rabbit and Grand for another.

Erin Swanson of Wingina 4-H earned a Best of Class rosette in the Senior age division for her unique no-bake yodel cheesecake.

Gabriele Drishinski of Sandrockets 4-H Club earned several awards in the horse show, including Grand in Level 2 English Horsemanship and in English Pleasure; First in Junior In-Hand Trail, Reserve in Level 3 Western Horsemanship and in Western Pleasure, and Third in Junior Western Showmanship. She also earned a Grand in the first-ever Freestyle Horsemanship Show on Sunday. Drishinski developed a pattern that incorporated the basic elements of Level 2 Horsemanship, and put those elements to the music of “Centerfield”, complete with a baseball costume, props and actions.

She also earned First place in Junior Sheep Showmanship.

At-Large 4-H member Garrett Fritz earned a Best of Class rosette in the Industrial Arts division for a beautiful oak jewelry box, and then went on to win a Best of Show trophy for the same item. Fritz also earned First place in Pre-Junior Livestock Judging, First in Pre-Junior Beef Showmanship, and was a member of the First Place Pre-Junior Livestock Judging Team.

Jade Rodriguez, of Conrad’s Four Leaf Clovers 4-H Club, kicked off her week by earning Best of Class rosettes for her Horse Interview and her Horse Exhibit, which went on to win a trophy for Best of Show Horse Exhibit. In the horse show, she earned Grand in Bareback Equitation for levels 5-7; Grand in Level 2 Driving; Grand in Level 4 English Horsemanship and in Level 3 & 4 English Pleasure; First in Senior In-Hand Trail; Reserve in Senior Trail; Reserve in Level 5 Western Horsemanship and in Western Pleasure; Grand in Senior Western Showmanship; and Third in Western Showmanship Overall.  Rodriguez also participated with her miniature horse, which is a division that has been added to the Marias Fair in the past few years. She earned Grand Overall in the Miniature Obstacle Course and in the Miniature Showmanship for ages 14 and up; and she won the Herdsmanship Award for Miniatures and Ponies. Herdsmanship awards are based on how well the participants care for their animals stalled at the Fair, including how neat they keep their stall area, and if their animal is fed, watered, and stall cleaned throughout the Fair. To top off her Fair experience, Jade earned Grand in the Freestyle Horsemanship Show for levels 5-7 with a beautiful pattern she developed and rode to the music of “More Love to Thee”. Rodriguez , with the assistance of her sister ,Jenna, and their mother, Juanita, developed the guidelines and organized this new event at the Fair. She has worked on this project throughout the 4-H year to bring all the details together for this new opportunity. The event was an entertaining and worthwhile addition to the Fair, as members demonstrated their skill and creativity on their horses.

15_jayleen-002Jayleen Harris of the Four Leaf Clovers Club topped off her final year in 4-H in grand style, as she earned several awards throughout the Fair with various animal projects. In interviews, she earned Best of Class rosettes in the Senior age division for Dog, Swine, Sheep, and Vet Science.  To further demonstrate her knowledge of animals, she also earned Third in Senior Individual Livestock Judging, and was part of the First Place Senior Livestock Judging Team. In the shows, she earned Grand Meat Goat, Grand Overall for Goat Showmanship, and Top in Goat Herdsmanship for care of her animal. Harris also earned Grand Champion Fed Lamb, first in Senior Sheep Showmanship, and Grand Overall Sheep Showmanship.

By winning Grand Showmanship in two large animal events, Harris double qualified to compete in the Round Robin Showmanship event on Sunday. This show is the culminating showmanship event, where the Grand and Reserve Overall Showmanship winners in beef, swine, sheep, goat, horse, and dairy compete by showing each type of animal to see who has the best overall showmanship skills. Harris earned Grand Champion Overall Showman in the Round Robin, fulfilling her top goal for the Fair.

JD Wood, a first year 4-H member in the newly re-charted Mountain Front 4-H Club in Dupuyer, earned a Best of Class rosette for his Swine interview in the Pre-Junior age category.  The judge was particularly impressed with Wood’s knowledge of pigs.

Jenna Rodriguez of the Four Leaf Clovers 4-H Club, earned Grand in Level 3 English Horsemanship and Reserve in Levels 3 -4 English Pleasure; Third in Junior In-Hand Trail; Grand in Junior Trail; Grands in Level 3 Western Horsemanship, Levels 3-4 Western Pleasure, and Junior Western Showmanship; and Reserve Overall in Western Showmanship. Rodriguez also earned First Overall in the Miniature Obstacle Course and Grand in Miniature Showmanship for ages 13 and under. She earned Reserve for Levels 3 & 4 in the Freestyle Horsemanship Show, for her performance to “The Pink Panther” music. Her horse even got into the act with pink panther ears to accompany her Inspector outfit. In the Sheep Show, Rodriguez earned Second Place Junior Sheep Showmanship and Reserve Sheep Showmanship Overall.

Jessica Stenson, of Wingina 4-H, earned Best of Class Interview rosettes for her 4-H Educational Exhibit about what it means to be a 4-H Ambassador, her Foods and Nutrition Interview, and her Teen Leadership Interview. She also earned Third place High Point Foods Exhibitor in Pondera County. This award is based on the total number of ribbon points earned in the Foods and Nutrition project at the Fair.

Jordan Stoltz, also of Wingina 4-H, showed her knowledge in the swine project and earned a Best of Class Rosette in the Junior Swine Interview division. This is not surprising since she expanded her swine project to include two breeding sows, which produced several of the top market swine contenders in this year’s show.  She also earned a rosette for High Point Sewing and Textiles Exhibitor in Pondera County and a gift certificate for High Point in Sewing and Textiles Overall. This was a tight race, and her participation in Fashion Revue put her over the top for this honor.

Justin Fritz, an at-large 4-H member, earned a Best of Class Interview rosette in Senior Beef, Second in the Senior division of Individual Livestock Judging, and was a member of the First Place Senior Livestock Judging Team.

Justin Salois, of Sandrockets 4-H, took top honors with a Best of Class rosette, and Best of Show trophy earned with a barbecue that he welded. The workmanship was so excellent that it looked like a factory welded item. Salois created this item in the Self-Determined project, which is where a member develops a plan to complete a project that does not fall within any of the established project areas.

Kassady Sheble, of Wingina 4-H, earned First in Junior Rabbit Showmanship, and Reserve Overall in Rabbit Showmanship. She also earned First in Pondera County for High Point Foods Exhibitor and High Point Foods Exhibitor Overall, with a variety of home cooked items created for the Fair.

15_habets-84Kenneth Habets, of Sandrockets 4-H, earned Grand in Level 1 Western Horsemanship. He also earned Third in Pre-Junior Swine Showmanship and his hog won Reserve Fed Market Hog Overall . He shined in several aspects of the Dog project, as he earned First in the Dog Show in the Novice A Obedience division; Grand Overall in Dog Obedience; Grand in Pre-Junior Dog Showmanship; and Grand Overall in Showmanship. He also earned High Point Dog Exhibitor for Pondera County and High Point Dog Exhibitor Overall.

Kolby Kovatch, of Wingina 4-H, took home several honors in the Horse Show, earning Third in Pre-Junior Barrels and in Pole Bending; First in In-Hand Trail; Grand in Trail; and Reserve in Level 1 Western Horsemanship and Level 1 Western Pleasure.

Krista Judisch, of Sandrockets 4-H, showed her swine showing skills as she won First in Junior Swine Showmanship and Grand Swine Showmanship Overall.

Krystal McDougall, of Cooperative Neighbors 4-H Club in Conrad, won Reserve and Grand awards with her Breeding Sheep, and she earned Third in Senior Sheep Showmanship. Her dairy goats earned Reserve and Grand as well, and McDougall earned Third in Senior Goat Showmanship. She also earned a Best of Class rosette for her Teen Leadership exhibit, which focused on her progress toward reconstructing the open class sheep barn at the fairgrounds.

Kyleigh Salois, of Sandrockets 4-H, and Malia Curry and Mikayla Connelly, both of Wingina 4-H, showed their livestock knowledge as the members of the Second place Junior Livestock Judging Team.

Mariah Sheble, of Wingina 4-H, topped off her 4-H career with a First place award in Senior Rabbit Showmanship and the honor of Grand Rabbit Showmanship Overall, plus a Best of Class Rabbit Interview rosette. Sheble has been very active in the Teen Leadership project, serving as a 4-H Ambassador, helping plan Junior Leadership Camp and State 4-H Congress, serving as club treasurer, and helping with many other projects and events. So, it was suiting that she earned Best of Class rosettes for Teen Leadership Interview and Teen Leadership Exhibit, and went on to win a Best of Show trophy for her Teen Leadership exhibit.

Matt Connelly, of Wingina 4-H, demonstrated his skills in the kitchen by winning two Pre-Junior Foods and Nutrition Best of Class awards for a baked item and for a Cookie Monster decorated cake. He also earned Second High Point Foods Exhibitor for Pondera County. In Individual Livestock Judging, Connelly earned Third in the Pre-Junior division, and he was a member of the First Place Pre-Junior Livestock Judging Team.

Mikayla Connelly, of Wingina 4-H, earned  Reserve in Level 2 Bareback Equitation, in Western Horsemanship, and in Western Pleasure in the horse show.

Molly Gianarelli, of Sandrockets 4-H, earned Second in Junior Rabbit Showmanship.

Skylar Stenson, of Wingina 4-H, earned Grand in Level 2 Bareback Equitation and Third in Level 2 Western Pleasure.  In Sewing, Stenson earned a Best of Class rosette on her western shirt exhibit, and Second Place Pondera High Point Sewing Exhibitor. She also earned First Place Junior in Fashion Revue. This event includes an interview portion, where participants are judged on how well their sewn item looks on them, their overall appearance, and their poise and knowledge in the interview.  The competitive portion of the event took place Wednesday evening at the Fair, and was a closed interview. On Saturday, participants got to strut their stuff as they modeled their items during the public fashion show.

Steven Peters, Sandrockets 4-H member, earned Best of Class rosettes in Industrial Arts for both his woodworking interview and his exhibit of a wooden Adirondack chair and small table.  This is just one example of a practical exhibit that will be used and treasured for years to come.

Taylour Russell, Sandrockets 4-H member, earned Grand in Levels 3-4 Bareback Equitation, Grand in Junior Barrels, and Third in Level 3 Western Horsemanship. She also earned a Best of Class rosette for her Swine exhibit.  Russell was one of several 4-H members with multiple events happening over the weekend. She competed in the 4-H horse show on Friday, a rodeo across the mountains Friday night, another rodeo Saturday morning, and was back for the livestock sale on Saturday afternoon, and 4-H Food Booth shift on Sunday.  Some other Pondera members shuffled livestock projects and Divisional Swim Team.

Will Early, Sandrockets 4-H, showed his creativity and engineering skills as he earned  a Best of Class rosette and a Best of Show trophy for his Robotics exhibit.  Early designed the Lego-based robot and programmed it to perform a specific task.
Zachary Stoltz, Wingina 4-H, was a proud member of the First Place Pre-Junior Livestock Judging Team.

Although the above Pondera 4-H members earned well-deserved top honors, many more worked hard at their projects and performed well at the Fair. More important, they gained knowledge and skills from their events, as well as new friends and many fond memories.