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Miller immerses himself in Stevens County Fair

The John Deere logo Ryan Miller made with string art. Rae Yost/Stevens County Times1 / 2
Miller2 / 2

Twenty-one projects could have Ryan Miller's name attached to them at this year's Stevens County Fair. Miller, 14, is a member of the Rendsville 4-H Club and plans to take 21 project to the Aug. 8-13 fair in Morris.

Miller's projects range from studies of corn, soybeans and wheat to paintings.

Miller said his corn project and shop projects are among his favorites. "Shop because I get to build stuff and work with my dad and grandpa."

"Corn because in the last two years I've won at state," Miller said.

He hasn't decided what he will build for his shop project this year. It will most likely be a project made from wood pallets. "I thought of making a swing but I'm not sure I will do that," Miller said.

He's made an end table and tool box for prior fairs. Miller made a bean bag toss game in 2016.

"I liked the bean bag boards," said Miller's brother Justin.

Miller started working with power tools under the supervision of his dad Jason and grandpa Gene Miller several years ago. He's progressed to using the table saw on his own. "It was cool to get to use it alone," Miller said.

The crop project with corn, soybeans and wheat requires Miller to review growing records. For corn, he must seperate kernels by color and size to find a uniform batch of corn to exhibit at the fair. His dad will ask him questions about the crops to help prepare Miller for the judging at the fair.

Miller has in turn, helped Justin with the crop projects by teaching him ways to sort and clean corn.

Her son's experiences in 4-H have helped Ryan be more outgoing and more relaxed when speaking with others, Julie Miller said.

"His creativity level, he's stepped it up," Julie Miller said.

Miller shows his creativity in painting and other fine arts projects such as string art. He designed a John Deere logo with string art for this. Miller wound green and yellow string through a nail pattern on wood to create the logo. He first drew the logo on the wood, then pounded small nails in an outline of the circle and the deer. Miller than spent several hours over several days attaching string through the nail patterns to create the deer and a full green outline circle of the logo.

"I'd stop and look at where to go next," Miller said of placing the string in the appropriate place in the logo.

Balancing 21 projects can be a challenge but Miller was able to complete 24 projects last year.

Some of his paintings and art projects are completed in class at Morris Area Schools. Although he tries to complete projects throught the year, he confessed that some wait until the last two weeks, or later, before the fair starts.

Julie Miller said her son is an example of the variety of opportunities in 4-H. Not only does he have individual projects, Miller also participates in the Rendsville 4-H Rube Goldberg team. The science and math team must create a machine that raises a flag. And Julie Miller, not every 4-H member needs to bring 21 projects to the fair.

"It's pretty fun," Miller said of 4-H and the fair.

Miller said any youth interested in 4-H should talk with a friend who is already a member and also attend a few meetings to find out what they'd like to do in 4-H.