Local 4-H students shine in competitions
By Haley Schichtl
Carroll County 4-H students Cheyenne Dawson, Kaitlyn Rexwinkle, Andrew Rexwinkle, Nella Forney and Jaxon Evans all did exceptionally well at the Arkansas State Fair and Junior Livestock Show from Oct. 16 to Oct. 25 in Little Rock.
Carroll County extension agent Olivia Foster said the students all also participated at the Arkansas Youth Expo (AYE) in Fayetteville from Oct. 5 to Oct. 7, and Dawson competed at American Royal in Kansas City Oct. 13-14.
“Our kids have been wildly successful, and in such a weird year, where they haven’t had all the opportunities they would’ve normally had to get their animals shown,” Foster said. “They stayed with it and they’ve gone to these shows that have been really large and very competitive and did a really good job representing us.”
Kaitlyn Rexwinkle won two Purple Circle Awards, one for her Grand Champion Hampshire and one for her Grand Champion Yearling Wether Dam Goat.
“You have to be in the elite of the elite to make it in the Purple Circle Club,” Foster said. “Strictly the champions make it in.”
At AYE, Kaitlyn Rexwinkle won second in her age group for Goat Showmanship. She said this year, she showed five goats and five sheep.
“It’s really fun when you win, but it’s also fun to see your friends,” she said. “Next year, I’d really like to win Showmanship at the State Fair.”
She said she has been showing since she was 3, and is now in fifth grade.
Andrew Rexwinkle, who is in seventh grade, said his biggest awards at the State Fair this year were winning his class and Reserve Champion for Arkansas Bred Lamb.
He said he likes showing livestock because he likes learning about the animals and meeting new people.
“There was no carnival this year, which is good and bad, and we all had to wear masks,” Andrew said. “It brought more attention to the livestock show, but the carnival’s fun.”
Andrew Rexwinkle said he has been showing since he was 4. He hopes to win a Purple Circle Award next year, which is done by winning a Grand Champion award or Showmanship.
Foster said that even though Nella Forney did not get the Purple Circle, she came close.
Forney, who is in seventh grade, said she has shown for six years, attended the State Fair for three, and went to AYE for the first time this year.
At the State Fair, she won first in her class for Heavyweight Crossbred Market Hog, Reserve in Division Drive for Heavyweight Crossbred Market Hog, ninth overall in Crossbred Market Hog and third overall in Junior Showmanship for Heavyweight Crossbred Swine. She also won her class at AYE.
“When I go in, I shake it off, I bend down, and I walk in and everything goes away, and I’m just in there, having a great time,” Forney said. “I’m nervous before I go in but I’ve kind of controlled that throughout the years.”
She said this year, not as many people got to watch the livestock show because of the pandemic.
“The hardest part is going against my friends. I want them to win, but I also want myself to win,” Forney said.
She said her goal every year is to win showmanship.
“I didn’t get it, but my friend Cheyenne Dawson, she’s an amazing showman and she got showmanship this year,” Forney said.
Fourth-grader Jaxon Evans placed first in class and third overall in Non Brahman-Influenced Commercial Heifer.
“We go down to our barn and we let her around, we brush her, wash her,” Evans said. “She’s a really nice heifer and we thought we could do really good with her.”
Evans said he likes to see his cow grow, and she is currently pregnant.
“This is my third year [showing],” Evans said. “The hardest part is getting ready… correcting mistakes.”
Evans said he hopes to have another heifer that his grandfather has raised for next year’s competitions.
Cheyenne Dawson won her class in Heavyweight Crossbred Market Hog and Reserve Champion in Steer Showmanship. She said at American Royal, she got 10th in her class and at AYE, she won 13-year-old sheep showmanship.
She said the hardest part of showing animals is preparing them. This year, she showed one steer, two heifers, two pigs and two sheep.
“I have to wash my calves every day and work their hair, and with my pigs, I condition their skin and practice walking them. With sheep, I work their wool and work on bracing,” Dawson said.
Dawson is in eighth grade and has been showing livestock for six years. She said she hopes to go to American Royal again next year with her steers.
“I’m really proud of all of our kids, and everyone that has continued to show livestock this year, and their parents that have stood behind them and supported them,” Foster said. “They all love showing livestock so much they’ve stuck with it and worked really hard through a really weird year.”