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It’s about 8 p.m. Wednesday on an acreage south of Brighton. An a typical storm looks to be blowing in from the east, so teenage brothers Kyle and Kent Scott quickly get to work and head out to …
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It’s about 8 p.m. Wednesday on an acreage south of Brighton. An a typical storm looks to be blowing in from the east, so teenage brothers Kyle and Kent Scott quickly get to work and head out to the barn to weigh their four 4-H hogs. Kent stops on his way to the barn to pick up a chicken, pat down its feathers, then lets it fly from his arms.
On this particular evening, exactly one week before the Adams County Fair, Kyle, 15, and Kent, 13, go through their typical two-hour nightly routine of weighing, washing and walking each of the pigs.
“We call it the WWW: the Wash, Walk and Weigh,” their mom, Connie Beluscak, laughed.
Tonight, Sally the pig weighs in just perfectly at 251 pounds. She’s required to be between 220 and 280 pounds in order to qualify for the 4-H swine show at the Adams County Fair.
Sally, Blue, Harry Plopper and Benny were born in January, and the boys took over their care the end of March. Kyle and Kent will show the four hogs at the fair Aug. 4 and 5, before—somewhat reluctantly—selling them to market.
“We work extremely hard getting our pigs ready,” Kyle said.
“But they’re a lot of fun to work with,” he continued. “You learn their personalities and their different diets. I enjoy walking them and showing them in the ring. They’re very entertaining.”
“It’s pretty funny because each of them is so different,” Kent added.
Kyle is vice president of the Good Luck 4-H Club this year. He’s served as president and treasurer in the past. In addition to hogs, Kyle’s also preparing a number of other exhibits for this year’s fair, including projects in foods, arts and crafts, crochet, oil painting and ceramics. His brother will also have projects in oil painting and ceramics.
4-H is a community of 6 million young people across the country learning leadership, citizenship and life skills. According to the 4-H website, 4-H clubs can be found in every country in every state, as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and more than 80 countries around the world.
Kids ages 5 to 8 can be involved in 4-H Cloverbuds, and those ages 9 to 19 can get involved as 4-H members. And it isn’t all about the animals—club members need not have an animal to be in 4-H. There are a variety of projects: foods, sewing, photography, arts and crafts, vegetables and flowers, model rockets, science, engineering and technology. 4-H members can get experience with interviewing, speaking in public and giving presentations.
Kyle and Kent say they enjoy all aspects of their 4-H experience, but it’s obvious that showing hogs is what they love best.
“We chose pigs because we just fell in love with it,” Kent said.
“Every night they look forward to it,” Connie said, and it’s hard to tell if she’s talking about her boys or the hogs, as she watches the hogs trot happily around the pen with the boys laughing and following them.
Connie was a 4-H member when she was the boys’ age. She showed sheep, then competed with hogs her final year of 4-H eligibility.
“4-H definitely had a huge impact on me, and I wanted the kids to experience that,” Connie said. “I’m very thankful for 4-H.”
Brett Ginther had similar wishes for his three children. Brett was also in the Good Luck 4-H Club as a teen, showing cattle at the county fair. His twin boys, Adam and David, 11, as well as daughter Alexi, 13, spend their summers preparing for the 4-H sheep show. The kids also show goats, rabbits and have projects in sewing and oil painting.
“It’s fun and it’s a lot of work for them,” Brett said. “It really gives them a lot of confidence.”
Barb Langhorst competed in sewing, singing and crafts as a 4-H kid growing up in Nebraska. Now her children, Luke, 10, and Chesney, 13, are having fun and learning a number of life lessons showing cattle with the Good Luck 4-H Club. They exercise their cattle every evening before the fair, and they’re also getting their 4-H projects ready for competition in arts and crafts, cake decorating and small engines.
“They really enjoy it,” Barb said. “We have a really good club. Through 4-H, they learn responsibility and self-confidence.”
Good Luck 4-H Club leader Gloria Cundall agreed.
“These kids are getting more than profit,” Gloria said. “They’re getting self-confidence.They’re learning how to nurture animals.”
Another great thing about being a part of a 4-H club is the friendships made, said all of the kids. Jennifer D’Epagnier, 11, and Kasie Hudson, 12, became good pals through riding their 4-H horses, Missy and Skye, together.
This year will be Jennifer’s second showing horses at the Adams County Fair. Starting Wednesday morning, she will compete in a variety of events in Western to English style, as well as trail and showmanship.
Kasie, a member of the Barn Brats 4-H Club, will show her horse in Western events and showmanship this year, and will also show her leopard Gecko in the pocket pets category. Kacie experienced a frightening incident being thrown from a horse, and was afraid even go near a horse for a time. She said working with her horse in 4-H has made a world of difference.
“I’m gaining confidence,” she said. “At first I was completely freaked out, but now I don’t have any problems.”
Jennifer and Kasie are happy 4-H brought them together as riding buddies, saying otherwise they don’t know if they would have met. Kyle and Kent Scott told a similar story. The brothers have met a number of friends they wouldn’t have probably met otherwise, they said.
“Maddie and Ryley (Gross) are our good friends,” Kyle said. “Other than 4-H I don’t know where we would have met them.”
Many 4-H clubs are like family, Gloria said. The Good Luck 4-H Club celebrates 75 years this year. Gloria’s father and Brett’s father were founding members of the club. Gloria has been involved with the club in one form or another since she was a kid. Gloria’s 80-year-old mother comes to club functions and gets along well with the club’s 60 members.
“We bridge the generation gap and that’s what makes this club strong,” Gloria said.
Look for 4-Hers to be showing off their hard work in events beginning this morning at the Adams County Fair. Visit www.adamscountyfair.com for a complete schedule.
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