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Davison County Achievement Days start today

Davison County Achievement Days is set to start today at the 4-H fairgrounds, just west of Mitchell on Old Highway 16.

Although Achievement Days is mainly for 4-H participants, the public is welcome to enter their hobbies and talents in the Open Class section between 1 and 3 p.m. today.

The indoor exhibit area is open to the public Thursday and Friday beginning at 9 a.m.

4-H interview judging on indoor display exhibits will take place from 4 to 7 p.m. this evening.

4-Hers will compete in the dog show Wednesday morning. Participants showing rabbits and poultry will be judged in the evening and 4-Hers can enter livestock after the judging.

Judges will have a hard day ahead of them Thursday as they judge beef, cats and sheep, and fashions displayed during the annual Fashion Revue.

Thursday evening brings the Ag Olympics, which is a well-kept secret -- the participants don't even know what they'll be doing.

"It's kind of something that pulls these kids together who maybe wouldn't normally do something together," said Peggy Nolz, organizer of the event.

There is only room for six teams of five people in the show ring, she said, so sign-up is first come, first serve.

Each team must consist of a beginner, junior and senior 4-Her, and the other two can be any age, but one has to be an adult. She said it's an event that's fun for all ages and has often been cited as the main reason many attend the annual pork barbecue.

In recent years, participants have walked like chickens while eating candy corn, worn pig noses and twirly tails while pushing a ball with their noses, and thrown dry cow chips at targets.

"It's always a big secret, always something new and different, and very original," said Ellyn Eddy, South Dakota Cooperative Extension educator for family and consumer science.

Friday's final showings include swine and goats.

4-Hers who receive purple ribbons will advance to the South Dakota State Fair in Huron Sept. 1-5.

The biggest event each year is Thursday's 4-H Community Pork Barbecue. The tickets are $7.50 for adults in advance and $4 per child younger than 10. At the door, the tickets are $8.50 per adult and $4.50 per child younger than 10.

A portion of the profits will go to South Dakota's Operation: Military Kids, a project to help support children who have parents who serve in the National Guard or Reserve. 4-H is a national partner with this program.

Eddy said Achievement Days does not feature all who competed during the year. Many 4-Hers have participated in events throughout the summer, like the recent horse show, special foods, public speaking and public presentation.

Many of these participants will also advance to the State Fair.