Prepping like the 'big kids'
By GAYLE WEBER
ATWOOD -- Their pigtails jumping along behind them, Kaci, Kylie and Kodi Dirks spent Wednesday morning bouncing from one 4-H project to the next, checking on chickens and bucket calves and watching the "big kids" show their pigs.
The girls, ages 6, 4 and 3, have been plenty busy this summer -- prepping for the Rawlins County Fair, taking swimming lessons and more.
They began bottle feeding their bucket calves in March, said mom Kristi Dirks.
"About the time school got out in May, we started putting the halters on them and tying them up," she said.
Then, as the fair crept closer, the girls got busy on their photography, cooking and crafts entries they would submit.
And it was worth it.
Kaci received grand champion for a photo she took of her sisters printed in black and white.
"She's pretty proud of that," Kristi Dirks said.
Though the girls aren't full-fledged 4-H members yet, they are participating as Cloverbuds in the Chardon 4-H club in Rawlins County.
"I guess it's any age that you want to start," Kristi Dirks said. "Our county's pretty lenient, because we need the people."
Cynthia Dixson, Extension agent in Rawlins County, said the 4-H program is still 55 strong in the county, with a couple dozen more like the Dirks girls ready to move up to 4-H in the future.
"Most of our kids are young," Dixson said.
But that doesn't stop them from putting in the hard work necessary to show animals and exhibits at the county fair. The Dirks girls brought hay for their bucket calves and divvied out feed for their chickens Wednesday morning.
"Those naughty chickens know how to spill their food," Kaci Dirks said on her way to get her mom to help fix the problem.
Kristi Dirks, a 4-H member growing up, said the girls all enjoy cooking and animals, so 4-H helps them gain knowledge from their projects.
"It helps them just be interested in everything," Kristi Dirks said.
The Rawlins County Fair continues today, and a rodeo will be Friday and Saturday at the fairgrounds just north of Atwood.