Last year, lasting memories

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10-year 4-H members share their experiences in 4-H program

By Navar Watson

Sarah McConkey 

Showing llamas at the Hamilton County 4-H fair “just sort of stuck” with Westfield resident Sarah McConkey after she tried it for the first time in third grade. Now, she’s celebrating her 10th year doing it.

The llama project is one of few 4-H programs where the participant does not have to own the animal, she said. This allowed her and many others to borrow the llamas from Shagbark Ridge Llamas in Noblesville.

“I was excited to get a chance to work with [farm animals]since I don’t technically live on a farm myself,” McConkey said.

She likes interacting with llamas especially because they each have their own personality.

“They’re sort of like people,” she said. “After working with a few for a while, you can sort of start reading their emotions. It’s fun to figure out how smart they are and how well you can train them.”

The llama she is showing this year is named Sassy Lassie. Despite the name, she’s “really sweet, as far as llamas go.”

McConkey cited club leader Marilyn Nenni, who runs Shagbark Ridge Llamas, as a big help and inspiration.

The biggest lesson McConkey learned in her ten years was that “hard work brings good rewards,” she said. “If you work to know someone or some animal, like llamas, you can end up being friends for life.”

McConkey said she’ll miss her friendships the most as she transitions out of 4-H, as well as the many days spent on the Nenni’s farm with llamas.

This year, McConkey said she will try just as hard as any year at improving and being the best she can be in her craft. She hopes to set an example for the younger children in the program.

McConkey plans to study biology at Ball State University in the fall.

Riley Hutson

Westfield’s Riley Hutson will be celebrating his 10th year at the Hamilton County 4-H Fair this summer, getting to show his pigs one last time before college.

“It’s the one week of the year that I can feel like a farmer,” Hutson said.

This year, Hutson will be showing two pigs, a duroc pig named Eeyore and a crossbreed named Piglet. Hutson has participated in the swine project since his first year.

Purchasing the pigs from a family friend every year, Hutson raises them from late April or early May up until the time of the fair. He receives guidance and support from his mother, a former ten-year member, and his grandfather, who once raised pigs.

Hutson particularly likes pigs because they “are a lot like dogs.”

“(They) pant like a dog and run up to you, and eventually they get to know you,” he said. “They end up feeling like a pet after the few months that you have them.”

Hutson said he looks forward to seeing his cousins’ projects at 4-H this year. He hopes to help train them in showmanship techniques. To him, showmanship took a lot of getting used to.

During Hutson’s first year in 4-H, his pig got excited and ran between his legs during the show. Hutson, only nine years old, was lifted off the ground, riding the pig as it ran around, generating laughs from the audience.

Regardless, this incident didn’t prevent him from showing pigs for next nine consecutive years.

After finishing 4-H, Hutson said he will really miss that “kind of attachment” a pig has with its owner, especially since he does not plan on raising pigs in the future.

“Not doing this is kind of like almost losing a pet,” he said.

Hutson plans to attend Indiana University in the fall, majoring in medical physics and modern business. He hopes to pursue a career in radiology.

10-year 4-H members, parents and club

Jordyn Alexander – Todd and Kyle Alexander – Westfield Whiz Kids

Elizabeth Bailey – Dennis and Susan Etchison Bailey – Husky 4-H’ers

Mckayla Barber – Rene and Dale Kougel and Paula and David Barber – Jolly Rogers

Mckenzie Barber – Rene and Dale Kougel and Paula and David Barber – Jolly Rogers

Samantha Bates – Bill and Paula Bates – Westfield Whiz Kids

Chelsea Bays – Fred and Dyan Bays – Llama Trekkers

Christopher Beck – Scott and Shantel Beck – Husky 4-H’ers

Ashley Binder – Greg and Cindy Binder – Carmel 4-C’s

Samantha Boram – Nikki Boram – Hamilton County Jr. Sheep Association and Fishers Showstoppers

Forrest Bowden – Wayne and Tracy Bowden – Husky 4-H’ers

Joseph Box – Howard and Peggy Box – Friends Forever

Courtney Boyd – Kenny and Vicky Boyd – 4-Leaf Clover Cloggers

Sarah Bruns – Mark and Jody Bruns – Carmel Colleens & Gents

Ben Burdick – Brandt and Vicki Burdick –Carmel 4-C’s

Emily Burris – Lisa Burris – Progressive Farmers

Samuel Chance – Stephen and Kimberly Chance – Husky 4-H’ers

Joshua Clark – Jerry and April Clark – Mudsockers

Victoria Comin – Gilberto and Julia Comin – Winners Unlimited

Jana Cooley – Kay Cooley – Dog Obedience

Emily Dzirbik – David and Diane Dzirbik – Winners Unlimited

Abigail Esrael – Ann Williams and Trevor Esrael – Harey Hoppers

Joel Flanders – Jim and Suzanne Flanders – Hamilton County Jr. Sheep Association

Mark Fletcher – Matt and Jill Fletcher – Clover Kids

Stephanie Foerder – Mark and Liane Foerder – Carmel Colleens & Gents and Llama Trekkers

Mary “Lizzie” Ford – Fishers 4-Leaf Clovers

Brad Freeh – Mike and Jill Freeh – Harey Hoppers

Kendall Gatewood – Bruce and Chelse Gatewood – Forest Hill

Madeleine German – Rick and Ellen German – Carmel 4-C’s

Evan Goley – Troy and Karen Goley – Fishers Showstoppers

Brooke Gooch – Michael Gooch and Todra Hart – Sheridan Ag

Taylor Good – Jeremy and Sheri Good – Carmel 4-C’s

Elizabeth Marie Gore – Bob and Brenda Gore – Fishers 4-Leaf Clovers

Cassadi Griffey – Dave and Wendy Griffey – Jolly Rogers

Allison Hamilton – Charles and Susan Hamilton – Stringtown Pikers

Morgan Hammon – Troy and Dawn Hammon – Royal Rascals

Abbie Hancock – Dave and Pam Hancock – Heartland 4-H’ers

Shelby Hobbs – Jim and Lynette Hobbs – Mudsockers

Gabrielle House – Matt House and Angie Helminiak – Husky 4-H’ers

Alexandra Hudson – Tom and Julie Hudson – Giddy Up Gang

Riley Hutson – Jeff and Karrie Hutson – Westfield Whiz Kids

Jessica Kiser – Brian and Chris Kiser – Winners Unlimited

Noah Kiser – Kevin and Pam Kiser – Carmel Colleens & Gents

Colin J. Krieder – Kevin and Rosanna Krieder – Friends Forever

Kaylin Lapel – Bryan and Jennifer Lapel – Carmel 4-C’s

Sara Latini – Bob and Pam Latini – Winners Unlimited

Sarah Lawhorn – Roland and Jennifer Lawhorn – 4-Leaf Clover Cloggers

Elizabeth Longbottom – Bruce and Nancy Longbottom – Friends Forever

Ty Martz – Fred and Patricia Martz – Shooting Sports Club

Sarah McConkey – Terry and Joan McConkey – Llama Trekkers

Madison McFadden – R. Scott and Lisa McFadden – Llama Trekkers and Carmel Colleens & Gents

Hannah Milam – Kirk and Rebecca Milam

Andrew Miller – Phil and Carol Miller – Sheridan Ag

Jordan Mills – Bruce and Kelly Mills – Husky 4-H’ers

Kara Moody – Keith and Beth Moody – Noblesville H & H

Katy Morris – Bill and Lisa Morris – Forest Hill

Paige Morris – Lori Jordan – Westfield Cloverleaves

Paige Neff – Dylan Neff and Melissa Stem

Haley Nixon – Jim and Kim Nixon – Walnut Lassies & Laddies

Jared Osswald – Brad and Amber Osswald – Walnut Lassies & Laddies

Olivia Patterson – Larry and Theresa Patterson – Carmel 4-C’s

Amy Pavey – Kevin and Lisa Pavey – Friends Forever

Ciara Pickering – Bruce and Kathy Pickering – Carmel 4-C’s

Megan Pickering – Brian and Jo Pickering – Heartland 4-H’ers

Kristen Pouch – Mark and Terri Pouch – 4-Leaf Clover Cloggers

Mikayla Pugel – Mike and Agnes Pugel – Progressive Farmers

Connor Purdy – Steve and Emily Purdy – Westfield Whiz Kids

Taylor Riley – Robert and Sandy Riley – Giddy Up Gang

Hannah Roaten – Bob and Carol Roaten – Sheridan Ag

Kaity Roberts – Jim and Jan Roberts – Westfield Whiz Kids

Kyle Schmidt – Doug and Carol Schmidt – Stringtown Pikers

Richard “Joey” Schnarr – Jacob and Jennifer Schnarr – Southeastern 4-H’ers

Margaret Sharples-Gordon – Keith Sharples and Sylvia Gordon – Stringtown Pikers

Alexis Skinner – John and Pennie Skinner – Giddy Up Gang

Maggie Speake – Mathew and Jennifer Speake – Carmel 4-C’s

Kendall Speicher – Randy and April Speicher – Heartland 4-H’ers

Ciera Spencer – Jeff and Angela Spencer – Sheridan Ag

Helen Storms – Mike and Lisa Storms – Winners Unlimited

Heather Stuckey – Steven and Dana Stuckey – Westfield Cloverleaves

Amanda Summe – Mike and Joni Summe – Sheridan Ag

Courtney Tate – Scott and the late Kathy Tate – Jackson Hotshots

Andrew R. Thieme – Ron and Sally Thieme – Progressive Farmers

Paul C. Thieme – Ron and Sally Thieme – Progressive Farmers

Shelbi Tidd – Jon and Wendy Tidd – Mudsockers

Kelsie Waitt – Kent and Brenda Waitt – Sheridan Ag

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Last year, lasting memories

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10-year 4-H members share their experiences in 4-H program

Compiled by Robert Herrington and Navar Watson

Kara Moody

In her 10 years, Kara Moody has completed more the 200 projects in a wide variety of areas from shooting sports (rifle) to cake decorating to cats.

“I love getting to learn all the new stuff,” she said. “Every once in a while I try a new one that interests me.”

During her time, Moody completed projects in photography, arts and crafts and microwave all 10 years. She completed scrapbooking and shooting sports for nine years each.

“The project I enjoyed the most was rifle because it gave me the opportunity to go out and shoot guns, which I would never do without 4-H. It’s always a lot of fun to go out to the range,” she said.

Moody, daughter of Keith and Beth Moody, is a 10-year member of the Noblesville H & H 4-H Club. She also serves as a Junior Leader which she enjoys because of the interaction with younger 4-H’ers.

“4-H has impacted my life a lot. I’ve met some pretty amazing people,” Moody said, adding she also has learned leadership and organization skills and the importance of being prepared.

Moody said her lasting 4-H memory was showing her pet in the cat show and winning grand champion.

“It was amazing, a shock. I never thought I would win an animal award at the fair,” she said.

Moody said her best advice to younger 4-H’ers is “Don’t procrastinate on your projects” and her favorite fair food is vanilla milkshakes.

“What I’m looking forward to the most at this year’s fair is the 4-H Queen Pageant and getting to see all the projects and people at the fair.”

Moody will attend IUPUI in the fall studying elementary education.

Madison McFadden 

Getting involved in every extracurricular activity she could, Noblesville resident Madison McFadden said it “took me a while to find my niche.”

At the Hamilton County 4-H Fair, however, she found people sharing her interests. Joining the program in third grade, McFadden is celebrating her 10th year of membership this summer.

In her 10 years, she managed to preside over two different clubs and win third runner-up at last year’s 4-H Queen Court.

“All [the]younger kids looked up to me as a role model, and that was just really cool,” McFadden said. “When I was in third or fourth grade, my role model was the girl who was president of the same club I was in.”

She said this mentor relationship is one of the key parts of the 4-H program.

This year McFadden will be exhibiting a llama project, poultry project and photography project, as well as giving a speech. She will also be a 4-H Junior Leader.

Her involvement with 4-H helped “shape my future,” she said, as she plans to study animal science at Purdue University in the fall.

Aside from that, 4-H has also improved her skills in leadership, responsibility, time management, public speaking and collaboration.

McFadden said she will miss her time involved in 4-H, specifically the feeling she gets looking at her accomplishments and seeing her hard work paid off. She said she will continue visiting the fair in the future.

“Being a member of Hamilton County, we’re blessed to have such a wonderful fairgrounds,” McFadden said.

McFadden said the fair’s lack of thrill rides is an advantage, making it more focused on the animals and students’ accomplishments. She believes it should stay this way.

“Our fair is very friendly to the community,” she said. “I think that’s why we have such a huge [participation]rate and why so many people keep coming back.”

10-year 4-H members, parents and club

Jordyn Alexander – Todd and Kyle Alexander – Westfield Whiz Kids

Elizabeth Bailey – Dennis and Susan Etchison Bailey – Husky 4-H’ers

Mckayla Barber – Rene and Dale Kougel and Paula and David Barber – Jolly Rogers

Mckenzie Barber – Rene and Dale Kougel and Paula and David Barber – Jolly Rogers

Samantha Bates – Bill and Paula Bates – Westfield Whiz Kids

Chelsea Bays – Fred and Dyan Bays – Llama Trekkers

Christopher Beck – Scott and Shantel Beck – Husky 4-H’ers

Ashley Binder – Greg and Cindy Binder – Carmel 4-C’s

Samantha Boram – Nikki Boram – Hamilton County Jr. Sheep Association and Fishers Showstoppers

Forrest Bowden – Wayne and Tracy Bowden – Husky 4-H’ers

Joseph Box – Howard and Peggy Box – Friends Forever

Courtney Boyd – Kenny and Vicky Boyd – 4-Leaf Clover Cloggers

Sarah Bruns – Mark and Jody Bruns – Carmel Colleens & Gents

Ben Burdick – Brandt and Vicki Burdick –Carmel 4-C’s

Emily Burris – Lisa Burris – Progressive Farmers

Samuel Chance – Stephen and Kimberly Chance – Husky 4-H’ers

Joshua Clark – Jerry and April Clark – Mudsockers

Victoria Comin – Gilberto and Julia Comin – Winners Unlimited

Jana Cooley – Kay Cooley – Dog Obedience

Emily Dzirbik – David and Diane Dzirbik – Winners Unlimited

Abigail Esrael – Ann Williams and Trevor Esrael – Harey Hoppers

Joel Flanders – Jim and Suzanne Flanders – Hamilton County Jr. Sheep Association

Mark Fletcher – Matt and Jill Fletcher – Clover Kids

Stephanie Foerder – Mark and Liane Foerder – Carmel Colleens & Gents and Llama Trekkers

Mary “Lizzie” Ford – Fishers 4-Leaf Clovers

Brad Freeh – Mike and Jill Freeh – Harey Hoppers

Kendall Gatewood – Bruce and Chelse Gatewood – Forest Hill

Madeleine German – Rick and Ellen German – Carmel 4-C’s

Evan Goley – Troy and Karen Goley – Fishers Showstoppers

Brooke Gooch – Michael Gooch and Todra Hart – Sheridan Ag

Taylor Good – Jeremy and Sheri Good – Carmel 4-C’s

Elizabeth Marie Gore – Bob and Brenda Gore – Fishers 4-Leaf Clovers

Cassadi Griffey – Dave and Wendy Griffey – Jolly Rogers

Allison Hamilton – Charles and Susan Hamilton – Stringtown Pikers

Morgan Hammon – Troy and Dawn Hammon – Royal Rascals

Abbie Hancock – Dave and Pam Hancock – Heartland 4-H’ers

Shelby Hobbs – Jim and Lynette Hobbs – Mudsockers

Gabrielle House – Matt House and Angie Helminiak – Husky 4-H’ers

Alexandra Hudson – Tom and Julie Hudson – Giddy Up Gang

Riley Hutson – Jeff and Karrie Hutson – Westfield Whiz Kids

Jessica Kiser – Brian and Chris Kiser – Winners Unlimited

Noah Kiser – Kevin and Pam Kiser – Carmel Colleens & Gents

Colin J. Krieder – Kevin and Rosanna Krieder – Friends Forever

Kaylin Lapel – Bryan and Jennifer Lapel – Carmel 4-C’s

Sara Latini – Bob and Pam Latini – Winners Unlimited

Sarah Lawhorn – Roland and Jennifer Lawhorn – 4-Leaf Clover Cloggers

Elizabeth Longbottom – Bruce and Nancy Longbottom – Friends Forever

Ty Martz – Fred and Patricia Martz – Shooting Sports Club

Sarah McConkey – Terry and Joan McConkey – Llama Trekkers

Madison McFadden – R. Scott and Lisa McFadden – Llama Trekkers and Carmel Colleens & Gents

Hannah Milam – Kirk and Rebecca Milam

Andrew Miller – Phil and Carol Miller – Sheridan Ag

Jordan Mills – Bruce and Kelly Mills – Husky 4-H’ers

Kara Moody – Keith and Beth Moody – Noblesville H & H

Katy Morris – Bill and Lisa Morris – Forest Hill

Paige Morris – Lori Jordan – Westfield Cloverleaves

Paige Neff – Dylan Neff and Melissa Stem

Haley Nixon – Jim and Kim Nixon – Walnut Lassies & Laddies

Jared Osswald – Brad and Amber Osswald – Walnut Lassies & Laddies

Olivia Patterson – Larry and Theresa Patterson – Carmel 4-C’s

Amy Pavey – Kevin and Lisa Pavey – Friends Forever

Ciara Pickering – Bruce and Kathy Pickering – Carmel 4-C’s

Megan Pickering – Brian and Jo Pickering – Heartland 4-H’ers

Kristen Pouch – Mark and Terri Pouch – 4-Leaf Clover Cloggers

Mikayla Pugel – Mike and Agnes Pugel – Progressive Farmers

Connor Purdy – Steve and Emily Purdy – Westfield Whiz Kids

Taylor Riley – Robert and Sandy Riley – Giddy Up Gang

Hannah Roaten – Bob and Carol Roaten – Sheridan Ag

Kaity Roberts – Jim and Jan Roberts – Westfield Whiz Kids

Kyle Schmidt – Doug and Carol Schmidt – Stringtown Pikers

Richard “Joey” Schnarr – Jacob and Jennifer Schnarr – Southeastern 4-H’ers

Margaret Sharples-Gordon – Keith Sharples and Sylvia Gordon – Stringtown Pikers

Alexis Skinner – John and Pennie Skinner – Giddy Up Gang

Maggie Speake – Mathew and Jennifer Speake – Carmel 4-C’s

Kendall Speicher – Randy and April Speicher – Heartland 4-H’ers

Ciera Spencer – Jeff and Angela Spencer – Sheridan Ag

Helen Storms – Mike and Lisa Storms – Winners Unlimited

Heather Stuckey – Steven and Dana Stuckey – Westfield Cloverleaves

Amanda Summe – Mike and Joni Summe – Sheridan Ag

Courtney Tate – Scott and the late Kathy Tate – Jackson Hotshots

Andrew R. Thieme – Ron and Sally Thieme – Progressive Farmers

Paul C. Thieme – Ron and Sally Thieme – Progressive Farmers

Shelbi Tidd – Jon and Wendy Tidd – Mudsockers

Kelsie Waitt – Kent and Brenda Waitt – Sheridan Ag

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