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Beltrami County Fair: 4-H members prepare projects

From left, Brad Olson, Samantha Papp-Richards and Faith Papp-Richards all fit on Sadie, a horse Faith will show at the Beltrami County Fair this week. They are members of the Open Range Ropers 4-H Club. Pioneer Photo/Molly Miron

Samantha and Faith Papp-Richards will enter their first 4-H projects at the Beltrami County Fair this week. But they have been mentored by veteran members of the Open Range Ropers Club.

"We're introducing them to a lot of new things," said Jerrie Olson, 4-H horse project leader.

Samantha, 13, will participate in performing arts, fine arts and dog classes. Faith, 10, will show a horse, Sadie, in games and costumes classes. She said her costume is a secret. Faith will also show the Olsons' yellow Lab, Shelby.

"We retrained Shelby to do obedience with her walker," Jerrie said of Faith, who has cerebral palsy.

Faith and Shelby get along so well together that they won the reserve championship earlier in July at a 4-H show. Faith mounts Sadie using a step stool. She also does physical therapy on horseback.

A non-animal project Faith will present is an interactive poster where visitors can match flower names with their pictures and make a light bulb light up if they choose correctly.

The Olson children, Emily, 15, and Brad, 13, will also show dogs, fine arts and performing arts. Brad has a soils project and will show his horse, Lily.

Emily is registered to show a horse, but may just work as Faith's stable girl.

"I rode every year - just taking a break this year to help Faith," Emily said.

She also has shown fine arts at the Minnesota State Fair, and Brad has shown a wetlands project, art and woodworking.

Emily will show two dogs, Tramp, a corgie-cocker spaniel mix, and Cammy, a black Lab. Brad will show his dogs, Rain, a black Lab and Shelby.

Brad and Samantha are practicing a violin duet for the performing arts on the Marilyn Shutter Country Stage.

"It's a medley of a whole bunch of classical pieces," Brad said. "It's called 'Beethoven Incorporated.'"

Emily said when the performing arts feature was inaugurated three years ago, she and another performer were the only entries. Now, more than 30 youngsters are registered to perform.

"It's just grown so," Emily said.

Emily and Brad have both competed at the Minnesota State Fair, as did their elder brother, Brian, 20, who is working this summer as a wrangler at Yellowstone National Park. He takes people on trail rides and drives a stagecoach. Brad's State Fair projects included a wetlands study, woodworking and art. Emily also qualified for arts at the State Fair and rode her Welsh pony in western, English, showmanship and games classes.

Jerrie said her husband is the support crew for the family's projects.

She works as a paraprofessional at Horace May Elementary School and knows Faith as a student there. Helping the sisters get involved in 4-H was the next step.

"I was a 4-Her when I was a kid," Jerrie said. "I had some great leaders."