Sewing with skin
In her second year in the senior division, Sabrina Boram won Grand Champion of the 4-H Fashion Revue. Fashion Revue is comprised of six sewing categories: suits and coats, formalwear, dress-up, informal casual, separates and free choice.
Boram described the Fashion Revue as “how well the outfit goes together and how well it fits me.”
Boram, who lives in Noblesville, will be a sophomore at Hamilton Southeastern High School. She has been involved in the sewing project for seven years and credits her mother for teaching her the skills of the trade.
“I would wear the jacket,” she said. “I went for more in style with braided trim and a popped up collar.”
For her project, Boram created a brown leather coat, teal shirt and black dress pants.
“I always wanted to make a leather coat. We bought a hide of leather. It was huge; we could make another jacket,” she said. “Black and brown go well together and teal really pulls it all together.”
Llama drama hits the fair
The 4-H llama project has several events – pack obstacle, PR obstacle, youth judging, showmanship, field obstacle – but 4-H’ers also get to show the lighter side of their animals with the public walk-a-llama, llama limbo, leaping llama exhibition and costume contest.
Llamas and their owners dressed in costumes like Wilma and Dino, Elvis and Priscilla and even Michael Jackson. Cooper Sims, who won grand champion, used his sister for his outfit.
“My sister won the costume contest two years ago and had left over stuff (from her “Under the Sea” theme). I used lobsters, crabs and fishing net from my sister’s costume as something different,” he said.
Sims created a fishing outfit – complete with vest, hat and waders.
“I used clothes my dad has when he goes hunting,” he said.
This is Sims’ first year in the costume contest and third in the llama project. He said his previous llama wouldn’t cooperate with him, but his new llama, Super Agent, was more willing.
“He wouldn’t mind me putting things on him. My other llama, Mask, wouldn’t let you touch him in specific areas,” he said.
Not all 4-H projects include animals
When fair time comes around, most people associate 4-H competitions with animal showmanship. However, there is a wide array of areas to compete in, such as the arts and crafts competitions that 12-year-old Grace McKinnies has mastered.
This year, McKinnies focused on making yarn necklaces, which are judged on neatness. She chose working with yarn because it was an original craft.
“Yarn necklaces are my favorite because they’re not just a normal drawing like a lot of people do,” she said.
Along with yarn necklaces and paintings, there are many different crafts that 4-H’ers can tackle.
“The hardest part about arts and crafts is finding out what to make because of all the options,” McKinnies said. “You can do paintings, drawings, oil pastels, LEGO buildings, knitting, gift wrapping, sewing, or just making crafts.”
The arts and crafts category attracts the most 4-H’ers. Options include fine arts, needlecraft, basic and models.
Mini but mighty
The 1/16th model tractor pull is an engineering and design project which 4-H’ers start with a metal 1/16th scale toy tractor and add a motor, gearbox and rubber tires to create a scale size pulling tractor.
“You make the models all from scratch,” Heartland 4-H’ers’ Diana Rulon said.
All members must complete at least one year in the beginner (electric) and one year in the intermediate (fuel) Pro-Stock class before being able to exhibit in the advanced division regardless of their grade in school. Rulon said the Super-Stock class includes a handheld throttle. Because of the expense and complexity of converting to the fuel powered classes, advancement to fuel power will be at the discretion of the member.
“It’s a very well rounded project,” Rulon said. “You learn some skill sets and combine them together.”
“The right dimensions, diameters for gears… it’s complicated, but we get it done,” 4-H’er Craig Dalzell said.
Dalzell said the motors are similar to model airplanes and use nitro methane fuel. He said his tractor runs at 2,200 rpms and can pull hundreds of pounds.
“I like the pulling,” Heartland 4-H’ers’ Craig Dalzell said. “Just to hear the motor’s sound – the adrenaline rush; I shake every time.”
Is it a sheep or a turtle?
Dogs wearing a ballerina tutu, rats in cooking pots and Cindy Lou Who and Max the dog were all on display at the annual Pet Parade on July 21.
Youth ages 2 through 8 and their pets explored their creativity by dressing in costumes, making the decision very difficult for judges Hamilton County Sheriff Mark Bowen, County Commissioner Steve Dillinger and State Rep. Kathy Richardson.
Trent Horney and his sheep, Chill, were named the Grand Champions with their Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles matching outfits.
“They fight the bad guys,” Trent said about why he likes TMNT.
Trent went as his favorite turtle, Michelangelo, and Chill was Rafael because they had extra red cloth.
“It was easy. We put some of my dad’s clothes on there,” he said.
This is the third year Trent has participated in the Pet Parade. Last year was a superhero theme as he dressed as Superman and Chill went as Robin.
Vanilla still a hit
In their first year competing in the Homemade Ice Cream contest in 1988, Dotty and Chuck McMillian weren’t sure of the rules. Instead of bringing their supplies ready to begin making ice cream, the Noblesville couple had all raw materials.
“We brought the kitchen with us,” Dotty said. “We came ready to go. We got it done. We were really cranking.”
Since then, the McMillians are a staple at the event, which is open to all Hamilton County residents.
“When we started, there were three other people. Our granddaughter was a child, she’s 27 now,” Chuck said.
One of the biggest changes in the contest is the number of participants. This year, there were 26 entries including eight first-time participants.
“There’s a lot more variety, different makers,” Chuck said. “There’s more family members, too, because the family’s grown.”
Taking an entire row of tables, the McMillian clan works on a variety of flavors including maple walnut, but Chuck says it all starts with his vanilla recipe.
“I like the basic flavors of vanilla, chocolate and strawberry. You use a good base vanilla recipe to make any variations,” he said. “We throw things in – a little something special every now and again.”
Each team of two to four people have 40 minutes to make its favorite ice cream recipe. Prizes are awarded in three categories: all flavors – electric freezer, all flavors – crank freezer and youth (ages 19 and under).
In the youth division, Kate and Taylor Gerardot of Fishers competed in the contest for the first time.
“They love ice cream and cooking. It’s a good combination,” their mother, Amy, said.
Team Yummy, as they called themselves, served peanut butter ice cream which won the youth division and overall grand champion.
“We made it one time and decided we loved it,” Taylor said. “We put Reece’s cups in it and fudge on top.”
Chicken feet and feathers matter
It’s always fun to see the interesting breeds of chickens at the Hamilton County 4-H Fair, but there’s a lot more that goes into preparing a chicken than one might think.
Fourteen-year-old Kylie Dugger of Noblesville explains the process to prepare Clanky, her white boiler chicken.
“You have to wash them and check for feather loss,” she said. “The object is how fast and how big you can get your chickens to grow before 4-H. To make a chicken grow faster, you feed them well and care for them properly.”
At the Poultry Showmanship, judges check the feathers, body and feet of the chicken. Dry feet and missing scales are a negative.
The judges also see how much the owner knows about their chicken in general. Dugger has competed with her chickens for three years and won red and blue ribbons last year.
Hoppin’ through 4-H
Harey Hoppers is a specialty 4-H club for youth interested in rabbits. The club’s membership is full of families and friends.
“My best friend did 4-H rabbits and someday I wanted a rabbit,” Megan Dailey said of her start.
“My sister had rabbits. She won Best in Show, and we got hooked,” Noblesville’s Grant Beechboard said.
“My cousin was showing for quite awhile, so I did rabbits. I always liked seeing the rabbit show,” Noblesville’s Jackson VonBlon said.
At its meetings, information on rabbit care, project requirements and preparing for the Rabbit Ambassador showmanship contest is shared. VonBlon has been involved in the rabbit project for three years.
“There are 42 breeds of rabbits and only two classes – 4 and 6,” he said.
Beechboard, who has been in the project for five years, said rabbits are less costly than other animals and “easy to maintain.” For second year rabbit project 4-H’er Abigail Zagel of Fishers, keeping the animals healthy and up to standards is a difficult task.
“It takes a lot of time and work to take care of rabbits. I change their cage very often. Depending on the breeds it could be every two days,” she said.
One interesting fact about rabbits is they “can’t eat spinach,” according to Dailey. Pet rabbits typically feed on pellets and hay.
“Carrots aren’t that good for rabbits because they are so sweet,” Zagel said.
“My rabbit likes broccoli heads the most,” Dailey said.