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A born leader





Part of being a good leader is showing others how to accept disappointment if you didn't accomplish one of your goals, then figure out ways to improve.

Lane Pfannenstiel learned at an early age how to set lofty goals, and he also has been a leader for fellow 4-H'ers since he was 11.

That's why it was business as usual for the 14-year-old Ellis County 4-H'er on Thursday when he finished as senior reserve champion in showmanship at the Ellis County Fair.

While reserve champion is right up there, it isn't grand champion, where Pfannenstiel had finished the past two years.

"It was a little disappointing not getting grand champion showman since I had the last two years," he said. "But I did the best I could, and you have to be happy with that."

That's the type of attitude 4-H'ers of all ages have come to expect from Pfannenstiel, who has had significant leadership roles in 4-H for several years.

Pfannenstiel, who will turn 15 on Tuesday, was just 11 when he was elected president of the Good Hope 4-H Club, a position he's had for four years running. He also is president of the Ellis County 4-H Council, the governing body for Ellis County 4-H clubs.

"He definitely follows the line of the first child, having those leadership qualities," said Susan Schlichting, 4-H youth Extension agent for Ellis County. "He's done a great job."

Pfannenstiel, the oldest of three children of Clint and Jill Pfannenstiel of Antonino, also is involved in FFA at Hays High School, where he will be a sophomore this fall.

He said involvement in both FFA and 4-H has been beneficial, "really helps with being a leader."

As president of the 4-H Council, Pfannenstiel helped plan an inaugural midweek dance for 4-H'ers on Wednesday at the fair and a T-shirt fundraiser for a new 4-H foodstand at the fairgrounds, and continues to try to lead by example while facing challenges of any leader.

"Sometimes kids don't want to participate, and that bugs me," he said. "I want to get everybody in the loop, because that keeps everyone involved."

Pfannenstiel ended this year's competition at the fair on a good note.

His Simmental heifer was judged grand champion of its class, and he earned overall champion market steer honors for a third consecutive year.

"There's a lot of pressure, having won it two straight years before," he said. "But you just have to keep working and try to improve all the time."