By Mary Fox
Going to the state competition is what all 4-H participants strive for and it’s a year-round commitment. The honor of going to the New York State Fair comes from the students’ award winning participation in the local Cattaraugus County Fair held each August.
“Earning a top placing at State Fair is one of the most rewarding experiences for our youth,” said Katlyn Santangelo, Cattaraugus County extension educator.
At the end of August 2013, 26 4-H teenagers from Cattaraugus County competed with other 4-H members from all over the state in the categories of horses, goats, swine, foul, sheep livestock, beef and dairying, with horses being the most popular. Six teenagers placed within the top 10 en in various divisions of the State Fair Horse show.
There are many months before the next Cattaraugus County Fair, but students are hard at work caring for what they hope to be an award winning animal. It’s a year-round commitment that places a great demand on the students’ time as new skills are learned and implemented. Each category challenges the students to meet the animal’s award-winning criteria.
And it’s not all about raising an animal. It’s also about full-time commitment to a project that helps the student build skills that can bolster their self-esteem, as well as learning valuable life skills. It’s also about the challenge of raising an award winning animal and the honor of proudly getting that ribbon.
“At State Fair, basic ribbons are generally given to all youth for participating, however top placings receive placing ribbons as well as rosettes and trophies for some awards. Along with these visual awards, premiums are given out,” said Santangelo. ”For most individuals the pride of being top in the state is the key satisfaction of competing and the ribbons allow them to remember their achievement.”
The 4-H program began at the turn of the century to establish a rural youth program to train youth and to introduce new agriculture technology to adults.
Today, the basic 4-H focus is on the personal growth of members from all backgrounds with life skills development built into 4-H projects, activities and events to help youth become “contributing, productive, self-directed members of society.”
Following is an abbreviated list with first-, second- and third-place finishers at the state level in 2013. Congratulations to all 2013 New York State Fair 4-H Participants from Cattaraugus County!
Livestock Skillathon: Megan Stang was placed on the combined Allegany/Cattaraugus Junior Team, which placed second and she placed second as an individual.
Horse Judging: Regional team placed first having Haleigh Youll placing first and Megan Stang placing third.
Dairy Judging: Novice Team of Kendall Booth (third), Alexandria Minnekine, Morgan Chapman, and Brett Russell.
Beef Show: Joshua Carter placed third and fourth in the Med. Wt. Market Steer class.
For more information about the 4-H program, call (716) 699-2377, ext. 120, or email Kaltyn Santangelo at firstname.lastname@example.org.