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Beltrami County 4-H performs well at State Fair

Thirty-four Beltrami County 4-H members competed in the 2013 Minnesota State Fair 4-H Livestock Encampment.

Reid Vonasek earned a place in history as the second Beltrami County 4-H member ever to represent Beltrami County in the Purple Ribbon Auction at the Minnesota State Fair. Reid earned the opportunity with his Market Gilt, which was a Yorkshire/Hampshire Cross.

Taylor Fankhanel also earned two champion honors during the Livestock Encampment. She received ribbons for Grand Champion Bantam Breeding Pen with her Buff Bantam Orpington Chickens. Additionally, she earned Grand Champion Senior Showman Honors in Poultry.

Nine exhibitors competed in the beef project: Anna Fogarty, Michael Fogarty, Chris Gilbertson, Tres Grundmeier, Kyla Langerak, Brian Mason, Sadie Radke, Renae Swanson and Hailee Todavich. Three members exhibited in dairy: Jacob Koch, Tori Koch and Kyle Underwood. In goat, five exhibitors were Valerie Davis, Mya Eichstadt, Josh Gilbertson, Haley Julin and Caitlin Pickett.

There were six exhibitors with poultry projects: Taylor Fankhanel, Cole Koebke, Cyan Koos, Kylie St Peter, Calli Yerbich and Mark Yerbich. In the rabbit projects, exhibitors were Hailey Erickson, Hannah Eichstadt, Taylor Hiltz, Michelle LaMoure, and Emily Risberg. Sheep project exhibitors were Colt Johnson and James Swiggum. Four exhibitors showed swine, including Sara Erickson, Zach Erickson, Chase Todavich and Reid Vonasek.

For Beltrami County 4-H, earned awards include five White Awards, seven Red Awards, 25 Blue Awards and five Purple, which is an Award of Excellence. Awards of Excellence were earned by Valerie Davis in goat, Zach Erickson in swine, Taylor Hiltz in rabbit, Cyan Koos in poultry and Reid Vonasek in swine.

Livestock youth also participated in interviews. Animal science interviews at the state fair are designed to further enhance educational opportunities for young people exhibiting livestock. The interview process offers a visual philosophy of recognizing 4-Hers who have used their livestock project to grow and develop as a young person. Livestock interviews emphasize many life skills such as communication, responsibility, decision making and problem solving. The interview process is a step to help ensure the stability of youth livestock shows as a positive form of youth development.

Interview finalists received polo shirts donated by AgStar Interview winners will receive a chair sponsored by Minnesota Livestock Breeders Association. Beltrami County finalists were: Kyle Underwood in dairy, Valerie Davis in goat, Taylor Hiltz in rabbit, Zach Erickson in swine. Finalists in poultry are: Cole Koebke, Calli Yerbich and March Yerbich. Taylor Fankhanel was named as an interview winner. These four poultry youth have participated as a Poultry Project Bowl Team since 2008.

Complete State Fair results and photos for 4-H youth across the state of Minnesota can be found at

Beltrami County has 27 youth participating Tuesday through Thursday during General Encampment with their non-livestock projects. For more information on 4-H in Beltrami County look to or contact the Beltrami County Extension Office 444-5722.