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Local members to present projects at state fair contest

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This will be the last go-round for several Bartholomew County 10-year 4-H participants at the Indiana State Fair.

Mallory Myers will compete with three different projects — geology, genealogy and shooting sports — in her final fair as a 4-H member.

The fair opened Friday in Indianapolis and runs through Aug. 17.

Myers, a recent Columbus East graduate, has had projects judged at the State Fair before. She said being able to attend the fair in Indianapolis and see her work on display is always an enjoyable experience.

“We spend the day up there and find all my projects,” she said. “It’s like a big treasure hunt.”

Myers’ genealogy project took the grand champion prize at this year’s county fair. It is something she has worked on every year since she was a fifth-grader.

Myers has added more family members to her project each year and has conducted several family-related research activities to meet requirements for the 4-H category’s advanced division.

For her current project, Myers conducted a search into her family’s military history. Overall, the eight years she spent researching her family’s lineage for 4-H has resulted in the collection of eight filled three ring binders, and several ribbons as well.

Conner Arnholt and Kylie O’Connor, 10-year 4-H’ers as well, will both show cattle in the 4-H category of the state fair.

Arnholt, an 18-year-old East graduate, is showing livestock at the state level for the third time and will compete with his crossbred heifer, Molly, who helped him win the Reserve Grand Champion prize at the Bartholomew County fair.

“It’s just so much bigger and so much more competitive, and there are so many more people,” he said of the state fair. “It’s a great experience.”

Arnholt has shown goats, pigs and cows throughout his time in 4-H, but leans toward cows as his favorite.

“I just like working with them every day and going to shows with them to see how they progress over the years and get better,” he said.

O’Connor, another recent Columbus East graduate, is showing two different types of cattle — Lynn, a Simmental heifer, and Hank, a Simmental steer.

O’Connor won the mental attitude award for the beef category in the county fair this summer, and her heifer Lynn was named as a champion in the Born and Raised Beef Heifer category.

“Yes it’s a bigger stage,” she said of the state fair, where she’s competed four or five times before. “But I don’t necessarily feel more pressure, because I know that I have done all that I can to make the cattle look good for the competition.”

For O’Connor, showing heifers and steers is a family tradition and now serves as one of her favorite pastimes.

“I have lived on a cattle farm my entire life, and my dad has shown cattle at a very high level for a long time,” she said. “It’s relaxing to be in the barn with the animals.”

The 4-H Heifer and Beef shows — where O’Connor and Arnholt will compete — take place Sunday and Monday. Myers’ three 4-H projects will be on display throughout the fair in either the Exhibit Hall or  Centennial Hall.

About 100 local 4-H participants will enter projects in the State Fair, according to information provided by the Bartholomew County Purdue Extension Office. That’s on top of the number of livestock exhibitors.

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