Event a ribbon-filled revue
By DIANE GASPER-O'BRIEN
Monica Towns and her siblings have taken home many a 4-H ribbon in the last decade or so while participating in various events in Rooks County.
The Towns family showed Thursday evening to expect more of the same in Ellis County.
In their first main event in a new 4-H club in a new county, 15-year-old Monica and a younger brother and sister all took home purple ribbons from the 2012 style revue at the Ellis County Fairgrounds.
The ribbon older sis won was the biggest, as she was judged grand champion in the senior girls' clothing buymanship category while representing the Ellis Sunflowers club.
More than 30 4-H'ers modeled a variety of outfits in front of family and friends in the Unrein Family Building.
It was a family affair for several sibling groups, including two others besides the Towns siblings who fared well in the final judge results.
Maggie James, 9, helped out her younger sister, 6-year-old Emily, when Emily became frightened before she went on stage. And Nate and Katy Walters each collected large purple ribbons awarded to grand and reserve champions.
Tears started to fall when Emily -- a Cloverbud, or a pre-4-H'er -- was asked a few questions about her outfit. Maggie jumped to the rescue, taking her younger sister up on stage to model.
"We were OK with the first couple of questions, but we got to question three, and you could see her tearing up," said the girls' mother, Alice James.
Maggie, from the Ellis Sunflowers, won junior grand champion for clothing construction for her floral summer top and white capris. But it was a red sundress with white polka dots that really got the crowd's attention.
Maggie also made an identical dress for Emily, and both plan to wear them on a family Disney cruise next month along with their younger sister, Hannah, who will turn 2 later this month, and three of their cousins.
The Walters, from the Buckeye Junior Farmers, each were called back on stage for consideration for top honors.
Nate, 13, was judged junior boys' grand champion in clothing buymanship, while Katy, 12, was reserve champion in junior girls' clothing construction. Rounding out the list of grand and reserve champions were Elissa Jensen, senior girls' buymanship, and Jacob Schmeidler, junior boys' buymanship, both from Buckeye Junior Farmers.
It was a banner night for the Ellis Sunflowers, which won four of the five grand championship ribbons.
Anna Kuhn, 9, was junior girls' grand champion in clothing buymanship for her formal black dress ensemble, while a fellow club member, Kaleigh Weber, was reserve champion in that division.
Their club had the strongest representation, thanks to the Towns family that had six of eight siblings participate, including 6-year-old Thaddeus, a Cloverbud.
"He was so excited about getting to come be a part of it," said the Towns siblings' mother, Santana, explaining Rooks County doesn't have Cloverbuds, a program for 5- and 6-year-olds.
Until this year, the Towns children participated in Rooks County, where their mom, who grew up in rural Rooks County near Palco, also had been a 4-H member as a youngster.
But the Rooks County Fair isn't until the second or third week of August, and it pushed up too close to the start of school for the Towns siblings, who attend school in Ellis.
So Santana Towns went through the process of transferring her children to Ellis County 4-H, and the Ellis Sunflowers club.
Thursday surely won't be the last people hear of the Towns name at this year's Ellis County Fair.
Monica was crowned Plainville's rodeo princess earlier this summer and will participate in Saturday's rodeo princess contest at the Ellis County Fairgrounds.
Also, their grandfather, Therean Towns, raises registered Herefords, and his grandchildren are bringing a combination of 10 heifers and market steers to the fair.
"We're looking forward to it," Santana Towns said. "We'll have quite a herd."