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Nelsons are ready for the fair

Seth Nelson will be entering a rocket in the Aerosmith Division during 4-H judging at the fair this weekend. Photo by Katie Erdman1 / 2
Emma Nelson built a log cabin out of popsicle sticks for her Arts and Crafts entry at the fair this weekend. Photo by Katie Erdman2 / 2

Rosebud, Boss, Bob and Joe are going to the fair. Rosebud will not only have three dates but she and the men will be trying to help their young masters take home top honors in their first year at the 4-H Sheep Show.

The quartet are actually four hampshire suffolk cross sheep that are part of the 4-H projects for Seth and Emma Nelson of the Hodges 4-H Club. This will bw a different year for the Nelson brother and sister as they take on a livestock project at the fair.

Seth has been a six year 4-Her and had considerable success in his Aerospace projects. Emma is in her first year as an actual 4-Her but has brought things to the fair in previous years as a Cloverbud.

Their sheep projects may be new to the Nelsons however they have a lot of valuable experience to back them up. Their mother Sandy was in 4-H and showed sheep with help and knowledge from her father Eugene Pasche of Morris. Seth and Emma's father, Barry, was also involved in 4-H showing swine and cattle.

With the help of these adults Seth and Emma have learned some of the proper feeding methods, value of exercise and selection process in picking their lambs. Two of the sheep they will be showing were purchased from Kevin and Kim Voorhees and two from Lauren Kill.

When it comes to the feed they selected a special Show Chow from Hancock Co-op that is designed for building good muscle and wool in a sheep. The sheep are also exercised each day to build muscle tone and then braced in a corner or a ditch. Bracing means backing the sheep up so the rear legs flex and build muscle. The setting of the rear legs is important when showing a sheep.

Other chores required with their sheep projects are sheering, clipping and washing the sheep regularly. Washing is important to get all the oil or lanolin out prior to sheering.

Seth will be showing his two Market lambs in the general judging and showmanship. Emma will show a market lamb and Rosebud, her breeding Ewe in general judging, showmanship and also in the Lamb Lead. For the Lamb Lead the 4-Her must wear a garment that is 75% wool and also 'dress up' the sheep. This judging is more on the wool product than the meat product from the sheep.

Seth will also be entering in a project that he is almost getting famous for at the fair. In the six years he has entered a rocket in the Aerospace category he has received five grand champions and one reserve champion. He has taken this project on to the state fair each year that he was eligible and received a grand champion at the state fair.

Emma will also try her hand at the Aerospace project this year with a smaller rocket than Seths. They research and order the rocket kits through the internet and then adapt them to look and operate as they see fit. The rockets can not have the engines installed for exhibiting and so are judged more on the appearance, knowledge of the project and interview process.

Seth also plans to enter in the photography category, a project he is still working on.

Emma has a couple other projects also. In Arts and Crafts she will be exhibiting a log house she is making out of popsicle sticks. She is also excited about her Exploring Animals Project which is a category for 4-Hers to study an animal without actually owning one. She will be making a poster about horse colors, learning all she can about them in hopes that some day she may actually own one.

While Seth and Emma may seem busy now just before the fair, the 4-H experience does not begin or end there. They have many fun activities they help with throughout the year. Seth has enjoyed many 4-H camps and Emma attended an after-school 4-H event for several weeks this past winter. Their club has gone bowling, cleaned up Page Lake Beach, made cookies to give to businesses at Christmas time, worked at the annual Easter Egg Hunt and helped clean ditches.

Seth is going into the ninth grade this year and therefore is eligible for more of the Counselor activities. One of these was to take part in the Mystery Trip this year when they went to the Science Museum, Omni Theatre and Como Zoo.

At the fair, the pair will also be busy keeping their animals and pens clean, working in the food stand on Sunday night and helping out at the wrestling (French Fry) stand in the food court. They will also take their turn working security in the 4-H building.

It will be a busy weekend not only for the Nelson family but for all 4-H families as they join the competition, fun and energy at the Stevens County Fair. Be sure to check out all the exhibits and especially see the results for Rosebud, Boss, Bob and Joe, along with their masters Seth and Emma Nelson.