The Clark County Fair is upon us! It’s a fun-filled time for the whole family with activities, games, events, carnival rides, concerts, food and animal shows. For the 4-H and FFA members, it’s a time to show off the results of a year of hard work as they prepped their projects. Whether that’s a performance, a handcrafted item, carefully cultivated produce, or a lovingly raised and trained animal, they are waiting to share their passion with you. Sam Hartrim-Lowe is one Clark County 4-H Member eagerly waiting for you to meet his projects.
Sam Hartrim-Lowe has been a 4-H member for seven years. He is in Goating Around, Lewis River Bossy Novas and Alpaca 101 4-H clubs. Sam is an incoming sophomore high school student who is homeschooled. “We moved to Clark County seven years ago and jumped right into homesteading,” shares Heather Hartim-Lowe, Sam’s mother. “We originally joined 4-H so our children would have support in caring for the livestock we acquired. 4-H has become so much more to our family. It has provided my children with leadership opportunities and a community to share life’s successes and challenges.”
“I have been involved in 4-H for many years because I wanted to try everything and I was following in my big sister’s footsteps,” adds Sam about why he joined 4-H.
While he may be following in his sister’s path, like all 4-H members, Sam has chosen his own trail and created his own projects. Regardless of the actual project, all 4-H clubs teach kids discipline, respect for others, leadership, teamwork, independence, confidence, and the importance of helping others and your community. They gain skills such as public speaking and marketing that will help them throughout their lives.
At the 2022 Clark Country Fair, Sam will be showing a variety of projects. “I will be showing multiple alpacas at the fair,” he explains. “I am lucky to have four alpacas at home and access to my leader’s awesome alpacas. My favorite and first show alpaca is Helena, but she is 20 years old so we have decided to retire her from the fair.”
Sam plans on doing obstacles and the handler classes with Gemini, one of his alpacas. As anyone around animals knows, they can be unpredictable. But 4-H has taught Sam ways to deal with the unpredictable situations. He plans on doing showmanship with the best behaving alpaca that day, he explains.
In addition to showing the alpacas, Sam will also be submitting fleece and some crafts in the fiber arts divisions. And what exactly makes for a good fleece? “The absence of guard hair, the presence of crimp, and a low macro count,” explains Sam. Along with knowledge like this, he says 4-H has taught him, “leadership, responsibility and humility.”
Most of us go to the fair to relax and have fun. It’s hard work for the 4-H and FFA members who go almost nonstop throughout the day taking care of their projects, meeting the public and getting ready for judging. “The most challenging thing is probably trying to juggle all of my different animals,” Sam shares about fair. “There is always something going on, whether it is herdsmanship, judging, showing or any of the other fun fair activities.” Herdsmanship is something the club is judged on as a whole. They are judged on the cleanliness of their animal area and their knowledge of their projects.
But regardless of all the work, the youth always have a blast at the County Fair, and they do take time to relax and enjoy themselves, even while working. “I am looking forward to finally getting to show again, spending time with friends, and of course the Dairy Women milkshakes!” Sam exclaims.
Head to the Clark County Fair August 5-14 to see Sam, his alpacas, and the other 4-H And FFA members who have worked so hard to make it to the fair.
For more information about joining 4-H in Clark County, visit the Washington State Extension Office website.