Steamboat Springs 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