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Growing up in Fremont County almost certainly means you'll be involved in some kind of agricultural education. And our local Future Farmers of America and 4-H chapters are ways this manifests itself for many of our youth.
Hailey Spray, a multi-talented 13-year-old from Pavillion, has been involved in 4H and FFA for more than half her life. This year at fair she participated in nearly every event, including last weekend's Horse Show. Riding since the age of three, Hailey's hard work, dedication and talent earned her several high marks and first place finishes, and she advanced on to State Fair which is held in Douglas on August 15.
Hailey with her horse Chocoman at the Fremont County Fair Horse Show
As Hailey humbly pulled out her bag of ribbons, she told County 10 her 1st Place finish in Western Horsemanship was the most meaningful win she's earned. "This is my first year showing my horse Chocoman, and it means so much that in our first show together we won!" Hailey explained there is a great deal of time, effort and training that goes into preparing for the Horse Shows. "I ride at least a couple hours every day to get ready, and I know I could push my horses to ride even more than that," she said. "My mom grew up riding, too, so it's something we enjoy doing together. I love it so much."
Next week Hailey will show her lambs at the Fremont County Fair. "You really get attached these animals," Hailey said. "They each have their own unique personalities, so sometimes it's hard to see them go after fair." Hailey's largest lamb this year weighs about 150 pounds.
Hailey, second from the left, showing lambs last year at Fair.
Hailey also created several projects for the static exhibit including ceramics, leather craft, canning, and jewelry. The judging took place last night, and she earned first place in nine of her projects, eight of which will be going on to State Fair.
"To me the vase was the most intricate and creative project that I made this year. It was fun using different styles and techniques ... I didn't follow any instructions or guidelines, I designed it completely on my own," Hailey said. The vase is full of different materials that she found laying around her house including paper towels, coffee beans and pipe cleaner. Hailey owes much of her ceramic skills to Phylinda and Jerry Rapp at Rapp It Up Ceramics as they've helped her with ceramics for the last four years.
Hailey enjoys making things that she'll actually use. "The vase matches my room, so I'll definitely be displaying it in there after fair," she said. "And I'll definitely be using the purse and make-up bag."
Her inspiration comes from various projects she's seen over the years and from different artists she's met through fair like BJ Griffin, a local leather craftswoman. "I've learned so much from BJ, and I love working with her." She and Hailey have even talked about a potential business collaboration in the future.
Aside from the projects and time spent with her animals, Hailey enjoys 4H because of the people she's met and the experiences she's had along the way. "I feel so fortunate to have had so many amazing opportunities. I would encourage anyone to join 4H because you gain important life skills like responsibility and leadership. I'd also tell anyone thinking about joining 4H to not be afraid to do it because you'll have a great experience."