Pictured, from left, are Hooves, Paws, and Claws (HPC) 4-H members Emily McDermott, Katie Zelechowski, Rhiannon Hall, Monique Garrett, Maddie Berlemann, Shelby Warren and Kaitlyn Miller.
SPRINGFIELD — Seven Hooves, Paws, and Claws (HPC) 4-H members brought home top awards from the State 4-H Horse Fair competition on Saturday, March 8, at the State Fairgrounds.
The teams participated in the eighth annual All-Youth Horse Judging Trials, held in conjunction with the Illinois Horse Fair.
The members participated on two age-based teams. The Senior Team consisted of Katie Zelechowski, Shelby Warren, Kaitlyn Miller and Emily McDermott. The Junior Team consisted of Maddie Berlemann, Monique Garrett and Rhiannon Hall.
The Senior Team took Grand Champion (the highest honor awarded), and the Junior Team took fifth place in the junior competition, and that was as a group one member fewer than the rest of the teams competing. Additionally, Senior Team member and HPC Club President Katie Zelechowski took Grand Champion overall as an individual. She had the highest score overall.
The teams competed against peers from Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Wisconsin, Kentucky and Iowa.
The competition is presented by Horsemen's Council of Illinois in cooperation with the University of Illinois. This contest was open to any youth contestant between the ages of 8 and 18 (as of Jan. 1) who is a member of 4-H, FFA, Pony Club or a breed organization. The All-Youth is a written, non-reasons judging contest known for its diversity in the classes presented. Classes in the past have included Baskir Curly Horses, Missouri Fox Trotters, Tennessee Walking Horses and Shetland driving ponies along with stock-type horses. Trophies and ribbons were given to individuals and teams in two age divisions — juniors 8 to 13 and seniors 14 to 18.
The HPC 4-H club meets the last Tuesday of the month at the Fort Russell Township in Edwardsville from 6-8 pm. Members range in age from 8-18 and come from all towns in Madison County including Edwardsville, Troy, Marine, Saint Jacob and more. The members elect officers, serve on committees and run the meeting on their own. HPC members work on projects for the county and state fairs each year and are involved in fund-raising and community service projects throughout the year. Additionally, each member provides learning opportunities to others through talks and demonstrations given at each meeting, The club also participates in special events, trips, camps and other opportunities.
The Hooves, Paws, and Claws 4-H Club meets at the Fort Russell Township Hall the last Tuesday of the month from 6-8 pm. Members range in age from 8-18. Go to www.hpc4h.com and http://www.4-h.org for information.