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Banned 4-Her wins court victory

By Northern Plains News Service and The Daily Republic

By a 2 to 1 decision, the U.S. Court of the Appeals for the Eighth Circuit has upheld an injunction allowing a teenager to continue competing in livestock shows after being accused of cheating by 4-H.

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In the Eighth Circuit’s decision issued last week, the court found for “B.K.” — Bayley Kroupa — the daughter of Greg Kroupa, a White Lake livestock breeder. The defendants are Peter A. Nielsen, assistant director of 4-H youth development, and Rod Geppert, Brule County extension 4-H representative.

Bayley Kroupa is currently 17 and a senior in high school, and is still competing in livestock competitions, Greg Kroupa said Tuesday in a phone interview.

“She has been competing for the past two years since this began,” he said. “She has one more year of eligibility left in the state of South Dakota.”

Bayley competed at the State Fair recently, he said, and was “very welcomed” by exhibitors and other families who participated in competitions.

“They were glad to see Bayley was back and competing,” he said.

In its decision upholding the U.S. District Court’s preliminary injunction allowing Bayley Kroupa to continue competing in 4-H livestock competition, the majority had some harsh words for the defendants’ actions.

“Giving no notice or opportunity to be heard,” the opinion begins, “a secret committee of the South Dakota State University Cooperative Extension Service barred B.K., a 15-year-old member of the South Dakota 4-H program, from further showing livestock at 4-H exhibitions.”

The ban stemmed from accusations that Bayley Kroupa “misrepresented the ownership” of her trained, belted barrow swine named “Moe” at the 2011 State Fair. The Kroupas deny the accusations.

In 2012, Greg Kroupa filed a federal civil rights action against SDSU and the defendants, with the U.S. District Court later dismissing SDSU from the case. The new ruling means Bayley Kroupa can continue competing while the underlying lawsuit proceeds. The Kroupas are seeking hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages they claim to have suffered from the ban.

“We would just like to say we were pleased with the decision of the federal judges,” Greg Kroupa said Tuesday. “Bayley enjoys showing in 4-H or we wouldn’t have spent the money we’ve spent at this point if she didn’t enjoy it.”