Local 4-H youths win state awards

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State Fair winners

- Christina Appel, Hayden: eighth, veterinary science

- Hannah Barkey, Steamboat Springs: fifth, advanced clothing; champion, entomology; fourth, ethnic arts; fifth, baking

- Alexandra Bryant, Oak Creek: 10th, beginning clothing

- Cole Carnahan, Oak Creek: reserve champion, visual arts

- Silas Gumbiner, Steamboat: seventh, horseless horse

- Kaitlyn Hayes, Hayden: third, leather stamping

- Mallory Hoots, Steamboat: third, advanced clothing

- Belle Horn, McCoy: champion, ethnic arts

- Emma Johnson, Hayden: reserve grand champion, bicycle project

- Laura Johnson, Hayden: eighth, woodworking

- Tyler Manzanares, Hayden: grand champion, leather carving

- Natalie Morton, Milner: fourth, creative sewing; eighth, beginning clothing; 10th, knitting

- Heather Nereson, Hayden: fourth, beginning clothing; champion, weaving

- Garrett Redmond, Yampa: ninth, entomology

- Jessica Rossi, Phippsburg: grand champion, beginning clothing

- Josie Rossi, Phippsburg: third, advanced clothing; fifth, weed project

- Cassandra Schmid, Yampa: ninth, beginning clothing

- Natalie Smith, Phippsburg: fourth, woodworking

- Hannah Thvedt, Steamboat: fifth, photography

- Dalanie VeDepo, Hayden: reserve champion, advanced clothing

- Danielle Villa, Oak Creek: fifth, entomology

- Jaelyn Whaley, Yampa: reserve champion, advanced clothing

- Alana White, Clark: fourth, pottery

- Nicole Williams, Yampa: eighth, beginning clothing

— Routt County 4-H members marched home with two grand champion titles and a slew of other awards from the Colorado State Fair last month in Pueblo.

Tyler Manzanares, of Hayden, earned the top prize in leather carving, and Jessica Rossi, of South Routt, sewed up the No. 1 slot in beginning clothing. Fifty-four Routt County projects made it to state, Extension Agent Karen Massey said.

"There are incredible projects kids can do if they enjoy doing things with their hands, which is really what 4-H is about: hands-on projects," Massey said.

Manzanares, 19, won his award with a leather Bible cover he made for a friend. He originally intended to make a saddle, but he ran out of time on that project and opted to enter the cover instead.

Manzanares, who plans to finish the saddle for a different competition, said he has been carving leather for more than a decade.

"It'll teach you a lot of patience, a lot of hand-eye coordination," he said. "If you just like to sit down and watch something kind of build and grow, that's one of the best projects for it because you can actually see something you've taken from the beginning stages and finished it into a nice piece of art."

Manzanares said he has won the top award in the program before. He's now studying at Northeastern Junior College in Sterling. His mother, Barbara Manzanares, works at Hayden Middle School.

"I just can't say enough about 4-H," said Barbara Manzanares, whose daughter, Calla, also participates. "It's a great program out there, and I'd highly recommend it to any child out there."

Across the county, Jessica Rossi also spoke about the fun that comes with 4-H participation. The 11-year-old conquered the beginning clothing contest by making a Western-style khaki skirt.

"She did better than anybody else in the state," Massey said. "That's pretty impressive."

Jessica, who lives between Phippsburg and Yampa and attends Soroco Middle School, comes from a long sewing tradition. Her mom and grandmother are pros, Jessica said. She just got her skirt back and plans to wear it "probably to weddings or fancy stuff."

Sewing can be tough, Jessica said. But this time, everything worked out, and she came back with a ribbon and a confidence boost.

"I was like, 'Wow,'" she said. "I was excited to tell people at school that I got grand champion."

Twenty-four Routt County 4-H members placed this year. Massey said that's about average.

"The real beauty of it is : they're just from all over," she said. "We really had a nice mix of kids from Clark, from Phippsburg, from Oak Creek - from everywhere."

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