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Dogs, young owners show off what they have learned at 4-H dog show

With a little help, Kacee Hohn, 14, of Mitchell, and her golden retriever, Jersey, completed their obedience course Wednesday at the Mitchell 4-H dog show.

With a little help, Kacee Hohn, 14, of Mitchell, and her golden retriever, Jersey, completed their obedience course Wednesday at the Mitchell 4-H dog show.

Hohn is hard of hearing after undergoing treatment for a brain-stem tumor, but she doesn't let that stop her, competing in both the 4-H dog and horse shows this year. Michelle Hanten, dog project leader, and other 4-H leaders repeat judge commands or give hand signals to alert Hohn when to perform certain movements with her dog.

How did Hohn do?

"I think we got a blue," she said.

Wednesday was the opening day of Achievement Days, held at the Davison County fairgrounds, just west of Mitchell. Achievement Days continue through Friday.

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Ten 4-H'ers vied for purple ribbons in Wednesday's dog show. The children were tasked with making their pets sit, stay, heel and lay down, along with other obedience drills. Some 40 people sat in the stands during the event.

After the first part of the dog show, Hanten clarified her presence in the ring with Hohn to the audience.

"We work with (disabled children) and alter things so they work," she said.

The 4-H indoor arena complex is used year-round for 4-H classes, according to Hanten, with many of the children bringing their dog every Tuesday evening for obedience training.

"It's really great that the commissioners and county let us use the facility for the kids," she said.

The 4-H dog project has had a lot of interest and income over the last year, according to Hanten. The 4-H'ers offer an obedience class that is open to the public for a fee of $50. The obedience classes are free for 4-H children.

The group has received around $2,500 in the last year from the classes, with up to 20 dogs in each class. Much of the proceeds have gone toward equipment for the agility competition, Hanten said.

"Our main goal (with the classes) is to educate the public," she said. "We don't want to see dogs in pounds."

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According to Ray Gosmire, Davison County extension educator, Achievement Days ran smoothly Wednesday and benefited from the cooler weather.

"Right now things are going pretty good," he said. "The nice rain and cool weather is going to help with everything."

Wednesday's Achievement Days schedule included shows for dogs, poultry and rabbits. Around 260 to 270 kids participate in 4-H, Gosmire said.

"We'd like to have more," he said. "4-H still has a reputation of being for country kids, but there's a lot of opportunities for kids from the city as well. ... We now have quite a few from town as we have less and less from the country."

One show many urban kids are able to participate in is the cat show, which takes place at 10 a.m. today at the fairgrounds, Gosmire said. The 4-H beef show precedes it at 9 a.m., the sheep show is at 1 p.m., the community barbecue begins at 5:30 p.m., a fashion revue will take place at 6 p.m. and the Ag Olympics will begin at 7:30 p.m.

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