Uinta County 4-H’ers excel at Showcase ShowdowWritten by Emilee Gibb
Laramie – Youth from across Wyoming put their skills and knowledge to the test at the Wyoming 4-H Showcase Showdown in Laramie June 21-23. 4-H’ers from the Uinta County 4-H program boasted excellent representation and placings at the event.
“This is the culminating event that brings together youth from across Wyoming who are engaging in both competitive, as well as educational programs while they’re there,” says Uinta County 4-H Extension Educator Dawn Sanchez.
Showcase Showdown includes numerous contest categories, including cake decorating, robotics, food cook-off, produce judging, livestock and dog skill-a-thons, hippology, table setting, rocket launching and speech contests.
The state leadership team interviews also take place.
“We had kids from Uinta County compete in every contest except for the rocketry contest,” continues Sanchez.
Uinta County 4-H had a very large representation at Showdown, with over 40 youth attending.
“It’s their time to showcase what they’ve learned and put their skills and knowledge into action,” emphasizes Sanchez.
Many contests have been added to the Wyoming 4-H program in recent years to encompass a wider variety of interests with today’s youth.
“Those are designed and came about to promote more opportunities for kids to engage in in areas that they’re interested in and be able to participate,” commends Sanchez.
“We had kids place in the top three in every contest except robotics, where we were fourth,” praises Sanchez.
Uinta County senior 4-H’ers boasted the champion teams in the produce judging contest, food cook-off, impromptu speech and the dog skill-a-thon. They took reserve honors in horse judging, hippology and table setting. The seniors took the top three team honors in the livestock skill-a-thon.
The county also boasted two seniors being elected to serve on the state leadership team.
The junior 4-H’ers were reserve champions in the livestock skill-a-thon, produce judging, prepared speech, food cook-off and the dog skill-a-thon.
In the intermediate division, 4-H’ers took champion honors in cake decorating and the dog skill-a-thon. They took reserve honors in the food cook-off.
Student success is truly a team effort according to Sanchez. In addition to having motivated and hardworking personalities, working in a team environment encourages the 4-H’ers to strive for excellence.
“I think what makes them successful within our county is that they work together in teams which then motivates each of them to study more and work harder to try and accomplish their goals,” says Sanchez.
The volunteers involved in the 4-H program also make student success possible as they provide their expertise in each contest category. Sanchez also notes that parental support is important in helping the kids accomplish their goals.
She continues, “Our county Extension office tries to supply the resources that they need to be able to study and be successful in each of those events.”
Sanchez comments that the 4-H program traditionally showcased competitions at county and state fairs.
“I think that Showcase Showdown is an opportunity and an event for kids to engage in additional competition areas and actually put some of those skills that they’re learning into actual practice,” says Sanchez
For example, while baking a cake at home and entering it in the county fair to be judged is helpful, the food cook-off contest brings the competition to the next level.
“This is one more opportunity for them to apply those skills because they’re given an hour to prepare a dish for the judge using the ingredient list that’s provided to them. I think it’s that next step of application,” emphasizes Sanchez.
“Obviously our motto and end goal is that kids are going to gain life skills that they can apply when they enter adulthood,” comments Sanchez.
Helping youth involved with the program to develop life skills such as teamwork, responsibility, effective communication and other core skills is important to everyone involved with Uinta County 4-H.
In addition to those important life skills, Sanchez also wants each 4-H’er involved to develop self-esteem through learning new skills and showcasing them to others.
Their involvement in 4-H also gives them the opportunity to create lasting relationships with other youth from around the state that are involved in the program.
“It’s why we do what we do,” says Sanchez.