4-H'er Gabe Schenk demonstrates vortexes and the science behind them during the 4-H Days competition that took place at Caney Valley High School. Jennifer Ritter | Contributing Photo
4-H'er Gabe Schenk demonstrates vortexes and the science behind them during the 4-H Days competition that took place at Caney Valley High School. Jennifer Ritter | Contributing Photo

4-H'ers from all over Montgomery County descended upon Caney Valley High School Saturday, Feb. 12 to show off their talent and expertise at this year's 4-H Days competition.  

Members representing all six clubs competed in various categories, including public speaking, demonstrations, informative talks, talent, prepared reading, and model meetings.  

"It's such a good experience for the kids," said one mother as she and her daughter patiently waited for her turn. "It's a little nerve wracking but she really enjoys it."

The hustle and bustle of rushing from one category to another had many younger members excited and ready. Others were a little nervous to be speaking in front of a judge, maybe for the first time. 

Shooter Welch from Cherryvale had a few first time jitters before entering the auditorium to deliver her prepared reading.  

A first year member, she said she worked hard to overcome her nervousness to read a simple story, "The Christmas Tractor," before a judge, and to her family's delight and with the support of 4-H families, she read it flawlessly and "left the stage with pride, relief, and many compliments," Welch said in detail.

The older members who are considered "more seasoned veterans" to the event spent their time rehearsing scripts or practicing their talents in the hallways. 

Younger members were relegated to sitting and being quiet as the judging took place. 

4-H Days is no mere public display where everyone walks away a winner, some members noted.

The judging itself is an experience. Like many events held throughout the year, those in 4-H consider this event to be a genuine competition with honest feedback and critiques. Red ribbons are awarded to participants whose project meets acceptable standards, blue ribbons are awarded for projects that exceed standards, and purple ribbons are only awarded for those who exceed beyond that. A judge is under no obligation to award a winner from the pool of participants in front of them. If the entire pool of entries fall under acceptable standards, each could be awarded a red ribbon.  

4-H members take judging seriously, as some members described their feelings before and after events. While everyone works hard to strive for those champion and reserve champion ribbons, awards like these are earned through planning, practice and delivery.  

"4-H is not about giving everyone  trophy just for participating," one parent said.  

Another agreed.  "It's important to hear what you can improve upon.  That's how we grow and get better."

Sometimes members have an easier time coping with feedback than their parents, but experienced leaders and friends are always on hand for support.  

"The judge told the club that they did not perform the hokey-pokey dance right because they did not wave their fingers when they 'pokied'," said one leader as she talked about the club's dance experience with a smile and a shrug. "Two parents have looked it up on YouTube. There is no official way of hokey-pokeying!"  

While many group and individual categories require participants to show off their public speaking or performance skills, model meetings are an important part of the day when each club holds a sample meeting and is graded on their ability to run a proper meeting with Robert's Rules of Order. 

"This is the [division] I am most proud of," said a leader as she watched her club members host their meeting before a judge.  "This is something they work on all year and a skill they will take with them when they grow up."  

And there will be many more. 

The motto to make the best better is a mission to many of the leaders, volunteers and supporters of the group. 

"Next year, I'm going to have a doughnut after I do my speech,"  one little member was overheard talking to his friend as they were leaving.  "That way I'll be shaky when I'm winning!"

4-H Days Competition Results

Extension agent Brian A. Swisher from the K-State Wildcat Extension District released the final results of the Montgomery County 4-H Club Day competition. The top two winners in talks and demonstrations and the top one in talent, music, and model meeting are now eligible to go on and compete at Regional 4-H Club Day set for Saturday, March 5 at Chanute High School.  

“This is new and will be replacing the Pittsburg Mall event,” said Swisher.   

Regional presentations will come from extension offices serving Cherokee County, Wilson County, Woodson County as well as the Wildcat Extension office serving Montgomery, Labette, Crawford counties and the Southwind Extension office serving Neosho, Allen, Bourbon counties.

• Model Meetings: The winner of the Model Meetings category was the Valley Victors. Second place was awarded to Fawn Creek.  A blue ribbon was awarded to the Peppy Progressives and red ribbons were awarded to the Bolton Trailblazers, Caney Pioneers, and Happy Hustlers.

• In talent, the first place winner for folk dance was the Caney Pioneers. First place for junior classical dance was awarded to Sarah Schwatken from the Valley Victors. Second place was awarded to Audrey Hoggatt of the Bolton Trailblazers and blue ribbons were awarded to Alyssa and Audrey Hoggatt as a team, Alyssa Hoggatt from the Bolton Trailblazers, and Morgan Lasco from the Peppy Progressives. 

• The senior classical dance winner was the team of Taiylor Blanck and Sarah Schwatken from the Valley Victors. Second place was awarded to Emily Lattin with the Happy Hustlers. Top awards for the senior novelty talent went to Danielle Rathbun with the Valley Victors.

• The Valley Victors took first place for skits and plays. Fawn Creek’s Grace Wawrzynaik was awarded second place. Olivia Saucedo from the Happy Hustlers took first place in the Intermediate Prepared Reading category with Happy Hustler Madyson Gann placing second. Shooter Welch of the Happy Hustlers took first place in the junior division.

• The Peppy Progressives took top awards in the musical band/orchestra category. The bands representing the Happy Hustlers and Valley Victors were second and third. Jared Metcalf and Trevor Rinne won the Instrumental Ensemble division for the Valley Victors. The top junior vocal award went to Lillie Taylor of the Valley Victors. Second place went to Kiara Islam of the Peppy Progressives and third was awarded to Gabe Schenk of the Caney Pioneers. 

• The top award for Junior Instrumental was given to Joel Denison of the Happy Hustlers. Second place was awarded to Kari Bever of the Peppy Progressives. Valley Victor Logan Rathbun earned a blue ribbon and red ribbons were awarded to Trinity Kuehn, Morgan Lasco, Deziree Lee, and Emma Thompson, each from the Peppy Progressives. The senior Instrumental award went to Justin Ward of Fawn Creek. 

• Top awards for project talks went to Gabe Schenk of the Caney Pioneers. Second place was awarded to Maggie Chandler of the Valley Victors. First alternate was given to Peppy Progressive Jake Love and Second alternate was awarded to Trinity Keuhn of the Peppy Progressives. Blue ribbons were awarded to DeAndrea O'Shield from the Bolton Trailblazers, Fawn Creek’s Silas Good, Olivia Saucedo from the Happy Hustlers, Easton Ewing from the Peppy Progressives, Morgan Lasco from the Peppy Progressives, Tristan O'Shield of the Bolton Trailblazers, Taylynn Walker from the Peppy Progressives, Mylie Synder with the Valley Victors and Graham Higbie with the Peppy Progressives. Red ribbons were awarded to Moneaquea O'Shields from the Bolton Trailblazers and Abi Bryson with the Happy Hustlers.

• The top win for Junior Demonstrations went to Peppy Progressive Caelie Love. Peppy Progressive Adyson Clubine came in second. First alternate was awarded to Cami Lewis from the Valley Victors. Second alternate was given to Valley Victor Mylie Synder.  Blue ribbons were awarded to Alyssa Hoggatt from the Bolton Trailblazers, Audrey Hoggatt with the Bolton Trailblazers, Maddix Small from Valley Victors, and Lucas Dillon from Valley Victors. Red ribbons were awarded to Maria Ellis with the Happy Hustlers, Lauren Lee with Peppy Progressives and Regan Schenk from the Caney Pioneers.

• Gabe Schenk took the top win in the Intermediate Demonstrations division. Valley Victor Lillie Taylor took second. First Alternate was given to Valley Victor Mason Metcalf and Second Alternate went to Syndee Clubine with the Peppy Progressives. Blue ribbons were awarded to Cherie Niver with the Bolton Trailblazers, Robbie Bever with Peppy Progressives, Cammie Dodson with Peppy Progressives, Alivia Kaiser with Peppy Progressives, Emma Lewis with the Valley Victors, and Cheyenne Higbie with the Peppy Progressives. Red ribbons were awarded to Tiffany Moore for the Happy Hustlers, Deziree Lee with Peppy Progressives, Emma Thompson for Peppy Progressives, and Macy Snyder for the Valley Victors.

• Johnna Dunham with the Bolton Trailblazers took first in the Senior Demonstrations category. Valley Victor Andrew Metcalf was awarded second place. First Alternate was given to Valley Victor Danielle Rathbun. Second alternate was Valley Victor Jenalyn Reichenbach. A red ribbon was awarded to Happy Hustler Michael Morre.  

• In the Multi-Media division, Fawn Creek’s Justin Ward took the top win.  Peppy Progressives Makenna Kuehn came in second. Peppy Progressive Ashley Chandler and Valley Victor Dexter Small took the first and second alternate awards. Fawn Creek’s Lex Ward was awarded a blue ribbon.

• The top win for public speaking went to Peppy Progressive Colben Dodson. Second place was awarded to Valley Victor Jordan Cushenbery. Blue ribbons were awarded to Cara DeTar, Abby Ewing, and Hannah Kaiser, and Makenzie White-all from Peppy Progressives.  Valley Victor Asheley McChesney was awarded a white ribbon.   

• In the Extemporaneous Talk division, a non-regional category, Fawn Creek’s Rhett Newby came in first followed by Cord Dodson, Cara DeTar, and MacKenzie White, all from the Peppy Progressives.