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4-H members prepare all summer for Achievement Days

Autumn Lentz, 11, of Fulton adds the names of the colors to her children's game which she will bring to the Davsion County 4-H Achievement Days. (Mercedes Lemke / Republic)

Sydney Tlam spends her summer training and teaching her sheep to stand properly for a show.

She worked with her animals every day this summer to prepare them for Davison County 4-H Achievement Days. And with Achievement Days a few days away, her final preparations are taking place.

To be eligible to compete at the South Dakota State Fair, 4-H members must show their projects, both livestock and static projects, at the Davison County 4-H Achievement Days.

The 16-year-old from Mount Vernon will be showing four sheep at Achievement Days this year. After years of showing other projects, Tlam decided to focus on her sheep this year.

"That's all I'm doing this year. I have done pigs in the past and some static exhibits in the building, but I really enjoy doing my sheep so that's what I wanted to focus on this year," Tlam said.

Preparations for the 4-H sheep show start early in the summer for Tlam, who spends her early afternoons working with her sheep after volleyball and basketball open gyms.

Each animal is trained to "set up" or place their legs in square-like formation for the shows. This is to get the animal used to the formation so they will stand properly during the show. The sheep are also haltered trained, even though during a sheep show halters are not used, this allows the sheep to be trained to walk with the showman and not pull away during the show, according to Tlam.

Prior to Achievement Days, the final preparation of washing, blowing and clipping the sheep has to be done.

"All that takes an hour and a half per lamb," Tlam said. "... We can be clipping lambs for three days in a row."

While Tlam works to prepare for Achievement Days, 11-year-old Autumn Lentz, of Fulton, has also been working toward the event all summer by sewing, cooking and researching.

Lentz, with the help of her mother, Heather, started sewing a dress that she will wear as part of the fashion review project in June. She estimated the dress took 12 hours to complete.

She is also plans to bring a poster that describes rabbit diseases.

"I wanted to do that because we had rabbits and they both died, so I was curious on how they died," Lentz said.

Researching also led to her creating a children's game which will be displayed at Achievement Days.

Through her research, she discovered that children before they go to preschool need to learn how to find words meanings. Lentz plans to create a matching game in which the colors of the rainbow matches with the word that describes that color.

With a busy schedule of summer activities including tennis, swim team and tae-kwon-do Lentz spent her afternoons during the summer working on her projects.

"All together it probably has taken me almost all summer to put them together. It started about the middle of June," Lentz said.

The love of crafting led Ivory Fenski, 8, and her older brother, Talon Fenski, 10, of Mitchell, into 4-H last year.

This is their second year as 4-H members and they are looking forward to bringing their crafts to Achievement Days.

Both will bring craft projects to this year's events. To get ready for Achievement Days the family had one big craft day, according to Ivory.

She will be bringing a wreath made out of clothespins and wooden stars. The clothespins were spray painted red, white and blue. The wooden stars that were glued on top were painted white.

Talon made a art piece melting crayons on a canvas.

He hot-glued the crayons to the canvas and used a blow drier to melt the wax. After the wax melted and dripped down the canvas, he drew a person to the bottom of his work.

"I think it's kinda fun to go to Achievement Days and see what the other things people do and see what place you get," Ivory said.

Schedule of Events

The 2017 Davison County 4-H Achievement Days event will be held Tuesday through Friday at the Davison County 4-H Fairgrounds, located on West Havens Avenue.

Events will kick off with 4-H participants in the static, non-livestock exhibits bringing in their projects for interview judging.

Wednesday the poultry, rabbit and dog shows will be held in the morning with all livestock being brought into the fairgrounds in the afternoon.

On Thursday morning the sheep and meat goat show will begin at 11 a.m. followed by a buried treasure hunt for children ages 1 to 7 at 3 p.m. and the skill-a-thon contest at 4 p.m. The public is welcome to come and enjoy the community pork bbq held from 5:30 to 7 p.m. The fashion review will begin at 6:30 p.m. followed by the beef show at 7:30 p.m.

The dairy cattle and goat shows start at 8 a.m. Friday followed by the swine show at 10 a.m. The ag olympics competition will begin at 11:30 a.m. with the round robin show starting at noon.