From cake decorating to raising chickens, Jefferson County’s 4-H youths work hard on their projects all year to showcase them annually at the Jeffco Fair & Festival.
The 2019 fair was Aug. 9 to 11 at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds in Golden.
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Fishing is a relatively new hobby for Jasper Prince.
He's only been doing it for a couple of years, he said. Still, the 11-year-old from Lakewood won four ribbons for his 4-H sportfishing project at this year's Jeffco Fair & Festival.
Prince has been in 4-H for three years and he enjoys the program because it's something everyone can participate in.
“It's really nice because no one gets left out,” Prince said.
Prince was inspired to enter the sportfishing project after he found a fishing rod in his garage. For his project, he created handmade fishing lures, made out of beads, paper clips and bottle caps. He did research on how to make the lures, but what Prince enjoyed most about the project was, of course, going fishing — something he did five or six times for this project alone.
“I wanted to actually catch a fish, but sadly, that didn't happen,” Prince said. But that's OK, he added. “I've still got the school year” to go fishing.
Natalie Lowman gets to work with the sheep she raises in 4-H from the day they're born until the day they go off with the buyer after auction.
The latter is sad, Lowman said, “but the journey there is so worth it.”
Lowman, 13, of Littleton has been in 4-H for five years and gets involved with a variety of projects. At this year's Jeffco Fair & Festival, she showed her quarter horse and two sheep, and created a shooting sports project.
Lowman has never had an interest in getting involved with traditional sports, she said. “This is what I do.”
She has made a lot of friends in 4-H and enjoys being surrounded by like-minded people who also have a lot of passion for their individual projects.
“I love how hands-on 4-H is,” Lowman said. “Nowhere else can you get experiences like this.”
In 4-H, there's a project for everybody's different interests.
“You can do so much,” said Andrew Stavig, 15, of Lakewood, who has been in 4-H for five years.
Stavig is pursuing computer science in his regular school-year academics, which was his inspiration for creating a video game to enter in this year's 4-H computer science competition.
His driving game — in which the player is driving a bus and has to dodge other vehicles — placed high enough at the Jeffco Fair & Festival that Stavig will be competing with it at the Colorado State Fair later this month.
Last year, Stavig competed with a robotics project, and he enjoyed that because it was hands-on, he said. But this year, he wanted to focus on coding.
“I always wanted to learn more about coding and what it can do,” Stavig said. “And get creative with it.”
Only a few days after the Jeffco Fair & Festival wraps up, Millie Mayo will be heading off to Texas A&M University to study animal science and pursue her path of becoming a veterinarian.
Mayo, 18, of Arvada participated in her final 4-H livestock competition this year because she is aging out of 4-H. She showed a llama and two pigs.
Llamas are different and unique, Mayo said, “and I've always enjoyed the bond between the llama and the handler.”
Mayo was involved with 4-H for six years, but has been showing llamas since she was 5. For the past four years, Mayo showed her llama Humphrey, but this summer, Humphrey died unexpectedly.
But the llama community stepped up and she was provided Blue, a 12-year-old heavy wool male, to work with for the summer.
“4-H provides you with a community that's hard to find these days,” Mayo said. “It's an awesome opportunity to become involved in your community and make a bigger impact on those around you.”
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