‘4-H is awesome’

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EDWARDSVILLE — The Madison County 4-H Club had its horse show at Triangle H Farms outside of Edwardsville on Saturday. The event had young people between the ages of 8 and 18 compete in various contests showing their skills riding horses.


Technical contests judged the horses’ abilities to walk patterns and change speeds on command. Fun challenges, like the egg and spoon race allowed riders to try to balance an egg on a spoon without dropping it while on horseback.


“I mean, the fun challenges take just as much work and skill as the technical ones,” said Ashley Wetzler of the Madison County 4-H Club.


Riders were awarded with ribbons based on their performances. Blue was the highest, red was the second highest, and white was for participation. Some of the awards came with a bit of a cash prize, but the amount varied.


“It all depends on how many kids qualify and how much money is in the budget to give them,” said Wetzler.


Wetzler said that the 4-H Club is a non-profit organization funded by sponsors as well as grants. Their goal is to teach young people qualities and skills that will help them later in life. According to Wetzler, it is a common misconception that 4-H is strictly about agriculture and livestock.


“We’re the largest educational after school program,” Wetzler said. “We are not just about livestock and farming. We do a lot of stuff including robotics and rocketry. We did a cake decorating workshop last week, and are very involved in the STEM program, which helps kids learn math and science.”


There are currently around 300 children involved in the Madison County 4-H Club. Wetzler and Laurie Kusterman, who organizes events for the Madison County 4-H Club, are hoping to bring even more projects for young people to do in the area.


The horse show featured 13 participants. Those that are best in their classes will advance to the Illinois State Fair in Springfield. Marilyn Cron, who acted as superintendent of the event with her husband, Mark, and daughter, Megan, had fond memories of preparing to show at fairs.


“I think 4-H is awesome and everyone should join it,” she said. “I remember long nights waiting for varnish to dry on her woodworking. We did woodworking, bugs, dogs, cats, horses and glass.”


Cron announced at the show that it would be the last year she and her family would present the event. She has been doing it since 1999.


“It’s kind of sad,” she said, “but I found two moms who are sisters willing to take it over.”


Cron will still play an active role in the Madison County Trailblazers Horse Club, which will feature shows throughout the summer at Triangle H Farms. The next one is this-coming Saturday at noon. A full schedule can be found on their website, www.madisoncountytrailblazers.org.


For more information on the 4-H Club in Madison County, call the Collinsville office at 618-344-4230 and ask for Laurie Kusterman. The 4-H Club is open to anyone between the ages of 8-18. The membership fee is $20 and that allows manuals for whatever projects an individual would like to do.


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