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County’s 12 4-H clubs headed for fair

4-H Noll

Photo by Rick Nichols
Aaron Noll, left, displays some of the clothing he has made for the fair while his older brother, Andrew, center, and younger brother, Abraham, work with their animals, an unnamed Hereford heifer and a bucket calf named Tip, respectively, off to the side.

 

A sure bet: County 4-H Fair won’t be for the bird

by Rick Nichols

Don’t be a dud,
Don’t be a square;
Get with it, bud,
And head for the fair!
… just leave your chickens behind.

Lucky 4 4-H Club community leader Sara Noll readily refers to her oldest son, Andrew, as “the original bird nerd” meaning no disrespect whatsoever to the 15-year-old, who will be a sophomore at Jefferson County North High School this fall. “He loves his chickens,” she told me last Thursday afternoon while we sat at her big kitchen table with the “bird nerd” and his younger brother, Aaron, 12, discussing the boys’ 4-H projects in advance of the annual Jefferson County 4-H Fair, which gets underway Monday in Valley Falls.
In a normal year Andrew and Aaron would be entering some of the chickens they raise as separate 4-H projects in the Poultry Show in the hope of coming away with nice prizes, but unfortunately for them and many other 4-H club members across Kansas, this isn’t a normal year. A stop-movement order imposed June 15 by the state’s Department of Agriculture has led to the cancellation of poultry contests at county fairs and other events, meaning the boys will have to leave the birds they love back at the farm when they set out for Valley Falls next week to participate in the four-day fair. The order was instituted to help protect the state’s poultry industry against possible outbreaks of avian flu.
Andrew and Aaron’s younger brother, Abraham, 8, a first-year 4-H’er, also had been planning to bring some chickens to the fair as a project, but he, too, has no other choice except to wait until next year. Nevertheless, the situation has left him “bummed out,” according to his mother.
The Noll boys and their parents, Sara and Matthew, live on a 100-acre farm to the east of Winchester that once belonged to his grandparents, Paul and Dorothy Harnish.
Noll, who grew up about a mile away from his grandparents’ place, works at the U.S. Penitentiary in Leavenworth, which is classified as a medium-security prison. Mrs. Noll, who was reared in Nortonville, is employed at KU Medical Center in Kansas City. Neither was involved in 4-H as a youngster.
While Noll doesn’t hold a leadership position with the Lucky 4, he helps the boys with their 4-H projects wherever his assistance is needed, according to his wife. In fact, while I was busy chatting with Mrs. Noll and the two older boys in an air-conditioned house, he was outside in the heat giving Abraham a hand with Tip, the bucket calf the youngest boy will be showing at the fair.
Tip and the unnamed Hereford heifer Andrew will be bringing to Valley Falls are just two of the animals to be found on the Noll farm, which lies to the north of K-192. In addition to their day jobs, the Nolls manage a small herd of registered polled Here-ford cows.
A 4-H’er for nine years now, Andrew enjoys the active lifestyle associated with the program, which is open to “country kids” and “city kids” alike. “It keeps me moving and keeps me outside,” he related. “I was up at five and I’m still working.”
Andrew went on to observe that 4-H gives him “responsibilities,” which he sees as being nothing but a positive thing at this point in his life. “You have to have something done in order to do something fun,” he reasoned.
Andrew is currently the vice president of the Lucky 4 and a county 4-H Ambassador as well. He is a former 4-H Prince.
Andrew will be entering five projects in this year’s fair, beef, swine, horticulture, cooking and photography. Tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, cucumbers, green beans, beets and basil will comprise his horticultural entries, various jellies and an apple pie his culinary entries.
Andrew’s “track record,” if you will, at the fair is impressive. His meat chicken was the grand champion last year and the year before, his Bantam chicken was the grand champion last year, his poultry record book was the county champion last year and it was considered for additional recognition at the state fair, and his horticulture record book was the county champion last year.
Two years ago Andrew was the reserve champion in poultry judging at the state fair.
A fifth-year 4-H’er, Aaron is the reigning 4-H Prince and the current treasurer of the Lucky 4. He will be a seventh grader at Jefferson County North Middle School this fall.
Aaron will be entering six projects in the fair, swine, horticulture, arts and crafts, cooking, photography and fashion revue. Carrots, raspberries and blackberries will comprise his horticultural entries, plum jelly, cherry jelly and a raspberry cake roll his culinary entries.
Speaking from personal experience perhaps, Aaron has some sound advice for his fellow 4-H’ers as they gear up for the fair. “Get your projects ready … no last-second things like at school,” he said.
Aaron excels in one area many boys naturally tend to avoid and that would be fashion. With some help from the county 4-H leader in sewing, Maxine Buttram, he captured championship honors in clothing and reserve championship honors in sewing at last year’s fair and he has created yet more apparel for the judges to look at this year.
Last year and the year before, Aaron was the reserve champion in beef showmanship, and he was the reserve champion in swine showmanship two years ago. He also has to his credit a second county championship, which was awarded to him for his poultry record book.
Abraham, who will be a third grader at Jefferson County North Elementary School this fall, has enjoyed being a 4-H’er so far. “I like it,” he commented, not knowing quite what to say about the whole experience.
But after thinking things over for a moment, he went on to add with a sense of delight, “I get to show my animals to everyone.”
Abraham will be entering seven projects in the fair, bucket calf, swine, photography, arts and crafts, horticulture, foods and fashion revue. Eggplant, carrots, peppers and cilantro will comprise his horticultural entries, corn flake cookies, orange muffins and maybe some jellies his culinary entries. His arts and crafts entry will consist of a wind chime with a fishing theme.
Although the Noll boys and other 4-H’ers can’t bring their chickens to the fair, youngsters will still be competing in poultry showmanship (read on) and have an opportunity to participate in poultry consultation judging. They also are expected to complete their poultry posters.           A full day-by-day schedule for this year’s fair, sponsored by local merchants, is available elsewhere in this edition.
In the meantime, pre-fair events will continue this Thursday with the judging of photography entries in the Community Hall at Kendall State Bank, 408 Broadway. The evaluation process is set to begin at 9 a.m.
The Public Fashion Revue is on tap for Friday at the Delaware Township Hall, 501 Broadway. With parents, siblings and others watching, 4-H’ers will be modeling outfits they have created starting at 7:30 p.m.
Efforts to put the fairgrounds in order for the fair will get underway at 8 a.m. Saturday. Those able to lend a hand are encouraged to show up on time and stay as long as possible.
The Dog Agility Show is scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday at the Bill Conser residence, 8438 Big Rock Lane. The check-in time is 6:30.
The horse show, rescheduled due to rain, will be held Sunday, Aug. 2, 9 a.m. at the fairgrounds.
The all-important post-fair cleanup has been scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Friday, Aug. 7. Any 4-H’er who will be entering something in the fair is expected to help with the effort.
The Lucky 4, which meets in Nortonville, is but one of 12 4-H clubs that call Jefferson County home. The other 11 clubs are the Beacon Builders, the Billtown Go-Getters, Clover Power, the Crackerjacks, Fairview, Grantville Circle G, the Jolly Juniors,  Mooney Creek, Prosperity, the Valley Victors and Winchester.
For those planning to go to the fair but who aren’t familiar with the county fairgrounds, they are located at 605 Ratz. Ratz is situated west of K-4 and south of K-16.

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