Heather Nereson wears the wool jacket she entered in the Colorado State Fair in Pueblo. Nereson won reserve champion in weaving and reserve champion in clothing.

Photo by John F. Russell

Heather Nereson wears the wool jacket she entered in the Colorado State Fair in Pueblo. Nereson won reserve champion in weaving and reserve champion in clothing.

Routt County 4-H’ers shine at state fair

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Hannah Barkey's art project on Polish paper cutting earned her grand champion in the heritage arts category and champion in ethnic arts at the Colorado State Fair in Pueblo.

— While most of her friends were out playing sports and going on vacations, Hayden High School sophomore Heather Nereson was sewing a wool jacket.

She logged 100 hours on the fitted Italian wool peacoat, a 4-H project for the Routt County Fair, and although there were times when she wanted to give up, she now has a lavender reserve champion ribbon from the Colorado State Fair in her hand.

“It’s feels pretty good for all the work I put into it,” Nereson said. “It’s nice to have a reward and know you did the best you could.”

Twenty-seven Routt County 4-H’ers placed at the state fair exhibition in Pueblo last month.

Forty-nine of the more than 100 projects on display at the Routt County Fair were chosen by out-of-county judges Aug. 6 to make it to the state fair. The Routt County Extension Office transported all the projects to Pueblo for the event, which took place the same weekend as the Routt County Fair.

Routt County Extension Office agent Karen Massey, who oversees the family and consumer science program, said she was proud of the 4-Hers and the diversity of talents their efforts represented at the state fair.

“It’s a really good showing because there are a lot of things that kids can do in extracurricular activities these days,” Massey said. “The fact we had all these kids that had a level of excellence to participate in the state fair is amazing.”

Nereson, like many other 4-H’ers working on their projects this year, had help. For a few hours a week, she met with seamstress and wool worker Rosemary Farrell, a retired home economics teacher from South Routt.

Farrell said after doing 10 years of 4-H as a young girl, she was happy to give back.

“She was such a talented young lady when it comes to fashion, design and sewing,” Farrell said. “She put her whole heart into the project. She wanted everything to be just right. It was really a delight to work with her.”

In addition to Nereson’s finish, Steamboat Springs student Hannah Barkey was named champion in the ethnic arts category for her Polish paper-cutting, called “Wycinanki.” She also earned grand champion in heritage arts, a larger category, against about 70 other projects. It was the highest honor received by a Routt County 4-H member.

Barkey said she put about 45 hours into her three works of art, which she pursued to learn more about her Polish heritage.

“I was very happy with the outcome,” Barkey said. “4-H really builds character and instills community service.”

South Routt student Ben Kelley earned reserve grand champion for his electricity project, and McKenzie Millard won reserve grand champion for veterinary science.

Other projects ranged from model rocketry to photography and woodworking to cake decorating.

Routt County 4-H awards

Logan Bankard: archery, seventh place

At Colorado State Fair on Aug. 17 and 18

Hannah Barkey: ethnic arts, champion; heritage arts, grand champion

Alexandrea Bryant: cake decorating, reserve champion; photography, champion

Kenneth Corriveau: leathercraft, sixth place

Lauren Ehrlich: best picture, seventh place; photography, sixth place; visual arts, sixth place

Taylor Elliot: artistic clothing, champion

Bailey Gander: cake decorating, 10th place

Izabel Horn: photography, third place

Laura Johnson: clothing, fifth place; woodworking, eighth place

Ben Kelley: electricity, reserve grand champion

McKenzie Millard: veterinary science, reserve grand champion

Natalie Morton: veterinary science, fifth place

Heather Nereson: clothing, reserve champion; weaving, reserve champion

Katelyn Olinger: clothing, sixth place

Grace Olinger: leathercraft, reserve champion; veterinary science, seventh place

Riley Owens: leathercraft, eighth place

Garrett Redmond: model rocketry, seventh place

Jessica Rossi: cake decorating, third place; clothing, champion

Bailey Singer: clothing, champion

Anthony Sisto: woodworking, ninth place

Alex Smith: quilting, fourth place

Greta Thurston: veterinary science, fifth place

Michaela Villa: clothing, 10th place

Jaelyn Whaley: clothing, eighth place; veterinary science, sixth place

Mary White: foods and nutrition, third place

— To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@SteamboatToday.com

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