Antelope County 4-H Achievement Night Held

Elgin Nebraska Antelope County Nebraska Antelope County News newspaper Lois Sprout Vida Sprout 4H 4-H awards
Lois (l) and Vida Sprout were honored for their sixty years of service in 4-H in Antelope County. Photos submitted
Elgin Nebraska Antelope County Nebraska Antelope County News newspaper Lois Sprout Vida Sprout Sprout family 4H 4-H awards
Lois and Vida celebrated with family members. Photo submitted

The Antelope County 4-H community gathered once again at the fairgrounds on Friday night, November 15th to celebrate the 2019 accomplishments.

2019 was a challenging year for many, but Antelope County 4-H families came together this summer to make it one of the best years yet we had at Antelope County Fair! 4-H families proved their resilience, pride, commitment, dedication, kindness, and support for each other to help all of us to overcome the hardship that the flood brought to our county.

The evening was enjoyed by many as we celebrated our accomplishments together. A highlight of the evening was naming Taylor Bolling and Angel Qualset as the 2019 Outstanding 4-H members.

Taylor Bolling is the daughter of Nate and Cassie Bolling of Clearwater and is a Senior at Clearwater Public School. Taylor is a member of the Hearts & Hooves 4-H Club and is a six year 4-H member where she loves to participate in showing animals and exhibiting beautiful home environment projects. Her favorite projects are showing horses, companion animals, home environment, portfolio pathways, sketchbook crossroads, and design decisions. Bolling is a very positive role model for youth as she is caring, gives 110% and always has a smile on her face.

Taylor not only has been an active 4-H member showing animals and home environment projects but she has helped our next generation of 4-Hers, the Clover Kids, show bucket calves. Taylor has watched the exhibit building the past 3 years with the help of other club members and has been a great help with entry day check in for fair. Taylor has been a great promoter of 4-H by show casing the companion animal project at the 4-H Open House the past couple years.

Taylor shows a positive attitude in everything she does. She shows respect for herself and others. Taylor loves to help out the younger kids as she has done volunteer work at the library with the summer reading program and the past three years she has served as an elementary teacher’s aid. This year she is the aid for the art teacher. She also is starting to teach younger youth how to ride a horse.

With Taylor’s strong 4-H involvement she has earned numerous 4-H awards. She has participated in both the large and small round robin contests at the county fair for winning honors at showmanship in companion animals and horses. Taylor has shown at a county, district and state level with her horses. She also was named the Boots and Saddle Club Queen, was the high point buckle winner at Bloomfield, Best Appearance award for Clearwater Rodeo, and recently was titled Teen Miss Rodeo Champions of America. Taylor in addition to being a very skilled horse showman is also very good at showing companion animals. Taylor has won cat Showmanship, Champion Overall Cat, and Reserve Champion Cat. Taylor also is a very talented artist. Many of her home environment projects, especially her cattle skull paintings have qualified to go to the State Fair.

Taylor would like to become a vet because of her love for all animals or an art teacher for her love of taking anything and turning it into something of her own creation. Taylor is very deserving of the Outstanding 4-H Member award because of her passion for helping people and her big heart. Taylor has worked hard in 4-H and has grown in many areas not just in her projects but also in her life as well.

Angel Qualset is the daughter of Curt and Brandi Qualset of Meadow Grove and is a Senior at Elkhorn Valley Schools. Qualset has been a very active 4-H member for 9 years where she has inspired many youth by her active participation, her friendly smile and her kindness of helping others. Angel has taken a wide variety of projects ranging from cooking, food preservation, photography, sewing, modeling, and many home environment projects along with showing rabbits and cats.

Angel is a strong leader in all aspects. She is the FCCLA president, secretary of FBLA, she has participated in Cornhusker Girls State, was a Youth Camp Leader at church camp, and chorister for her church congregation. In 4-H, Angel has helped many younger youth show rabbits in PeeWee showmanship. She has been a great help at the 4-H Open House promoting 4-H and also projects that are not as popular. Angel also assist in helping with entry day at the fair. During the fair, Angel can be found in the rabbit barn with a smile on her face allowing younger kids to pet her rabbits.

Angel is a dedicated 4-Her and gives it her all with everything that she does. She is always trying new unique projects and has an eye for detail earning her numerous purples, blues, and projects being selected for State Fair. Angel’s hard work has led her to winning both Jr and Sr Rabbit Showmanship and also winning Senior Cat Showmanship. Angel been an elite showman that earned her the honor in competing in the Small Round Robin contest 4 times and earning the high honor of Champion Round Robin showman in 2018. Qualset during her 4-H experience, took the opportunity to show at State Fair in rabbits and companion animals. Along with her impressive showmanship skills she also is very skilled at food preservation, photography, baking, fashion revue winning multiple honors in those project areas.

When Angel is not busy with 4-H projects, she enjoys to sing. She is very talented in singing as she has been selected to the NECC Hawkfest Honor Choir, the Nebraska All-State Choir, the Concordia University Honor Choir and the UNK Honor Choir.

Angel Qualset exemplifies what being a 4-H True Leader is all about! Angel through her active 4-H participation has gained the skills of confidence, responsibility, independence and compassion, which makes her an Outstanding 4-Her!

The Merry Maids & Muscles 4-H Club of Neligh was announced as the Outstanding 4-H Club of 2019. Merry Maids & Muscles has 30 members ranging from 18 years old to the youngest ones being 5. Merry Maids & Muscles 4-H Club has been very accepting to new members and has welcomed many 1st time 4-H’ers, where they learned the ropes and lingo of the 4-H world. MMM has been in existence for over 50 years and has been a contributing organization to their community.

MMM has regularly scheduled meetings. In addition to attending meetings many of their club members participated in the county project challenge of making a fair exhibit with mason jars as well as attended many summer workshops. Merry Maids and Muscles this year made a beautiful club quilt, which now hangs in the basement of the courthouse to promote 4-H. They also keep up to date with managing their club scrapbook. For National 4-H Week, they organized a day to wear their 4-H shirts to school. Every year as an incentive to being active contributing members their club does a fun day. This year they went to the water park in Norfolk and had a blast together.

In May their club held a bake sale along with selling Memorial Day flowers during Neligh’s burger bash. This was a huge success for the club, thanks to the club’s active members participation. Prior to the bake sale they also had flower sales at the Senior Center from the end of April to May 24. As a thank you, the club donated back to the Senior Center. All the members were present when they made May Day baskets for the Willows, the nursing home, and the hospital at the end of April. Other community service activities they performed include picking up the leftover Memorial Day flowers at the cemetery and the Trunk or Treat at the nursing home. Merry Maids and Muscles plays a big part in helping make the fair successful every year by being there pre and post fair clean ups, watching the Exhibit Building, and donating toward the 4-H awards.

MMM is growing after a few years of decline. This year they had have one member age out and they wish him all the best and hope that his time in their club has been beneficial for his future endeavors. MMM have members who are excited about doing projects together and have parents willing to help. They are looking at doing more after school workshops for those that are interested in sewing, photography or whatever their interests are. They are proud they still can contribute to the community and hope to keep it up while expanding on community service projects.

During the night, years of 4-H membership was also acknowledged. This year Antelope County 4-H welcomed 84 new members ranging from ages 5 to 16 years of age. Fifty one of those members were Clover Kids (ages 5-7 years old as of January 1st). There were forty nine 5th year members, eleven 8th year members, and fourteen 9th year members. Antelope County had six 10th year members who were: Breanna Carr (Oakdale), David Durre (Elgin), Christopher Kester (Clearwater), Damien Knight (Neligh), Alyssa Moser (Clearwater), and Codey Snider (Clearwater). Eight 4-Her’s were at their 11th and final year of being a 4-H member and they include: Kendra Carr (Neligh), Rachel Higgins (Neligh), Marie Meis (Elgin), Amber Miller (Tilden), Kaleb Pofahl (Neligh), Travis Rudloff (Clearwater), Dalton Smutny (Meadow Grove), and Matthew Suckstorf (Meadow Grove).

The Annual Mark Hughes Memorial Award is awarded to a boy and a girl who exhibit exceptional and unique project(s) at the county fair. This year’s winners were Bailey Ahlers from Clearwater and Evin Pelster from Neligh. Bailey Ahlers is a 4th year 4-H member. Ahlers loves to create and craft! Every year, she exhibits numerous home environment projects as well as show swine. Bailey’s specialty is decorating cakes, repurposing old furniture, and floral arrangements. Evin Pelster is also a 4th year 4-H member. Evin is enjoying 4-H to the fullest. This summer he attended almost all of the summer workshops put on by Extension, where he made sure each one of his projects were perfect. Evin is not only an active 4-H’er but a caring older brother that took his younger brother, Logann, under his wing to help him in his first year of being a Clover Kid.

The Jolene Mosel Memorial Award was awarded during the fair to someone that went above and beyond to help and empower the lives of the Antelope County youth. This year’s recipient was awarded to Chris Redding from Elgin.

4-H leaders play a crucial role in operating the 4-H program. Our 4-H leaders are volunteers that are club leaders, 4-H Council members, and project leaders. Their leadership to the youth in the county is appreciated! We had one 1st Year leader, who is: Megan Jacob (Neligh) and our 2nd Year Leaders are: Anne Hemenway (Neligh), Jordyn Pofhal (Neligh), Kara Pelster (Petersburg), and Julia Suckstorf (Newman Grove). 5 Years of service is: Cassie Bolling (Clearwater) and 10 Years of Service is Mark Eggers (Tilden). For 25 years of committed service was awarded to Craig Sprout (Elgin) and for 60 years of dedicated service to Antelope County 4-H Program was awarded to Vida and Lois Sprout (Elgin). What an incredible commitment that Vida and Lois as well as their children, Craig, Sarah, Chris, shown to Antelope County 4-H!!

Vida and Lois’ 4-H journey began back in 1956 when these two young ladies from Neligh, who were friends, married two young farmers, who happened to be cousins, from rural Elgin. After starting their families, they decided the southwest corner of Antelope County needed a 4-H club that focused on static exhibits, so in 1959 they started the Merry Makers 4-H club little knowing the impact they would have on all of Antelope County for SIXTY years and counting!

Vida was a 4-H member as a youth, so becoming a leader seemed to be a natural next step. She was also the organizational leader of the club as well as the foods leader. Lois was the sewing leader, as she had lots of sewing experience, making much of her family’s clothing. Each meeting they would have a lesson pertaining to their specialty. Under their guidance the Merry Makers (nearly 60 young ladies over the years) sewed and baked and decorated and created for almost 30 years. The club continued till 1986. But their service to 4-H didn’t stop there!

In addition to caring for their families and homes, helping on the farm, serving their churches and communities they continued to be involved in Antelope County 4-H. They served on the 4-H Council, worked in the old food stand, and Lois was clothing superintendent for many years. Lois had a home based wedding cake business for years and she took an initiative to create a cake decorating project for Antelope County. Lois not only created the project but served as the superintendent. She actually is THE only cake decorating superintendent Antelope County has ever had as she is still serving in that role! Vida is the Foods superintendent and has been for decades and she also is a big help in clothing entry day.

Vida and Lois and her husband William also served on the fair board. William and Lois were chairpersons for the EARLY Sunday morning pancake feed for many years. They also sold and took tickets and the demo derby for years.

Lois and Vida each had 2 children who went through the Antelope County 4-H program AND they each had 4 grandchildren, also going through the Antelope County 4-H program. AND the legacy continues – Lois’ son Craig and his wife Merry were club leaders for a number of years and Craig continues to be the Antelope County 4-H Engineering superintendent. Lois’ daughter Sarah Harrod has been a dog leader and is currently her co-superintendant for cake decorating. Vida’s daughter Chris and her husband Jim are club leaders and Chris is co-clothing superintendant, taking over for Lois a few years ago. Vida’s granddaughter Paige served as a 4-H assistant in southern Nebraska until moving home where she is currently serving on the Antelope County 4-H council. I think it’s safe to say that the Sprout family bleeds 4-H GREEN!

Antelope County Extension would like to thank all of the hard working 4-H Volunteers and Leaders that make 4-H possible and help youth be the leaders of tomorrow!

Certificates of appreciation were presented to the 2019 Antelope County 4-H Council. Persons receiving the certificates were: Adults: Anne Hemenway (Neligh), Paige Redding (Elgin), Sonet Smunty (Meadow Grove), Dawn Nelson (Tilden), Jenny Higgins (Neligh), Megan Jacob (Neligh), Anne Meis (Elgin), Kara Pelster (Petersburg), and Abigail Frank (Brunswick). Youth representatives include: Travis Rudloff (Clearwater), Alison Stineman (Norfolk), Trevin Hanson (Oakdale), Ashleigh Nelson (Tilden), Alyssa Moser (Clearwater), Kierra Bearinger (Clearwater), Gracie Park (Ewing), Sadie Smutny (Meadow Grove), and Ashton Higgins (Neligh).

At the closing of the event the new 2020 Antelope County 4-H Council members were announced. The adult representatives elected will serve a three year term and are as follows: Paige Redding (Elgin), Travis Rudloff (Clearwater), and Jenny Higgins (Neligh). Youth representatives elected to the 4-H Council for a one year term include: Trevin Hanson (Tilden), Lynae Koinzan (Neligh), Alyssa Moser (Clearwater), Ashleigh Nelson (Tilden), Sadie Smutny (Meadow Grove), Logan Mueller (Clearwater), Alexis Lind (Tilden), Taylor Bolling (Clearwater), and Alyssa Burenheide (Elgin).

Congratulations to all the Antelope County 4-Hers for an outstanding year!