Basehor 4-H Club continues prep for county fair
The Leavenworth County Fair is less than a week away, but for the Basehor Rustlers 4-H Club, preparations for the five-day event began months ago.
Group members are putting the finishing touches on some projects and firing up others in the days preceding the fair — their biggest annual event — which begins Tuesday at the Leavenworth County Fairgrounds in Tonganoxie. Some projects began as early as last fall, while others won't get under way until judging day, but everyone's hard work will soon come to fruition.
"It starts coming up around February because there's paperwork due," said Katie Tindell, 17. "You have to finalize what projects you're in by Feb. 1, so it comes up early in the year and stays on the table."
Tindell, a 10-year club member and incoming senior at Basehor-Linwood High School, has taken on a wide variety of projects turing her 4-H tenure. This year, she'll enter in crochet, photography, woodworking, leadership and geographic information systems.
Projects often become more complex and require more work as club members get older. Casey Eberth, 15, will enter in the beef category this year — a project that takes nearly a year of preparation.
"We start that when school starts. It's a yearly project" said Eberth, who will also enter in leadership, cooking and photography. "I'm in the beef program, so I pick a steer and basically raise him, then sell him at auction on Friday night."
It's not uncommon for club members to enter in four or five categories covering a wide variety of topics. For example, Rachel Tindell, 15, will enter in woodworking, crochet, cooking, photography and leadership.
"Honestly, I usually sign up for a little more than I know I'm going to do because sometimes you run out of time to do all your projects, but I usually pick the things that I'm good at and I like to do," Rachel said.
Leadership projects often include organizing an event for the local community. Rachel's leadership project was a public dessert gathering for elderly Basehor residents. Meanwhile, Casey's project focuses on her involvement with a bucket calf program. Katie Tindell and fellow BLHS senior Katie Eberth organized a project in which they travelled to local elementary schools and set up a food drive to benefit Basehor-Linwood Assistance Services. Following the school year, they bought a community garden plot, where they grow produce and donate it to BLAS.
While many members put in months of work on certain projects, categories like cooking and photography are popular among all age groups. Those projects are often done within the last few days before judging, so they regularly have the largest participation.
"The judges take that into consideration," said Katie Eberth, 17, who will also enter in cooking, home environment and painting. "Everybody in the county does photography and cooking, so they break it up into different levels. They take into account your age and your experience with the projects."
Several of the club's younger members, including Emmy Bracken, 6, Audrey Bracken, 7, Malia Pebley, 8, Maya Pebley, 9, and Jenny Zydlo, 10 will participate in cooking and/or photography. Arts and crafts is another popular category among younger participants, and some will also enter animals.
While all categories are judged at the fair site, projects like home environment take place within the homes of the individual members. Amy Eberth, 12, will enter that category after redesigning her bedroom — a project she said has been in the works for quite a while.
"I'm painting it, rearranging furniture and giving it a whole new design," said Amy, who will also enter in bucket calf and cooking. "I've been working on it for a couple months."
The Rustlers have about 25 members ages 7-18 and meet the third Monday of every month at Basehor VFW Hall. There is also a "Cloverbud" program for members younger than 7. The club has had project meetings where members have gotten together to work and receive on their individual entries, but a lot of the work is done on their own time.