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4-H members shine at annual Beef Show

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GEORGE: Tate George, right, is presented the Lane Miller Memorial Trophy by the son of the traveling trophy’s namesake, Jeff Miller.
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McKINNEY: Kayley McKinney smiles while handling her Grand Champion Heifer at Tuesday’s Clinton County 4-H Fair Beef Show.

By AARON KENNEDY - akennedy@ftimes.com

The Clinton County 4-H Fair Beef Show took place inside the Crop Insurance Specialists Show Arena on Tuesday, and many young 4-Hers experienced the pride in being recognized for the care and hard work they invested into the steer and heifers over the past year.

Incoming Rossville freshman Kayley McKinney was thrilled to learn that she has raised this year’s Grand Champion Heifer and Champion Reserve Heifer in her fifth summer as a 4-H member.

“I was very surprised considering she is not the best that I have had before. And, I was extremely surprised because I have really good competition out there,” McKinney said. “Everyone did really well. I was emotional, and it was fun.

“What I like about it is that you get to experience something that not a lot of people get to experience, and you get to have a connection with these animals that not a lot of people get to endure in their lives,” she added. “Considering my grandpa is a cattle farmer, I get to go to his farm whenever I feel like it. It is good stress relief sometime. It is fun to be with the animals.”

Of course, the hard work does not end when the 4-H members show up at the Clinton County & 4-H Fair.

“When I come to the fair, I don’t usually get to go out to the actual rides,” McKinney said. “My grandfather would much rather me stay here with the animals and take care of them as needed. But, sometimes I go out there on the last day of the fair and hang out with friends.”

Incoming Rossville junior Tate George was recognized for raising the Reserve Grand Champion Heifer and with the Lane Miller Memorial Trophy, which was presented to him by Lane Miller’s son, Jeff Miller.

“It is pretty special to me,” George said. “Being the first one is pretty neat. I have known Jeff for a long time, and he has been super helpful. It was an honor for me. I just felt really special.”

To qualify for the award, a 4-H member must be a two-time winner, and they must give a brief presentation on the effect agriculture or beef has had on their life. George gave a nice presentation, though he had his reservations before Tuesday.

“(Jeff Miller) told me that I would have to give a speech, and I told him ‘I am not doing it.’ He said I had to give a speech, and I said ‘OK. I’ll go up there and say speech,’” George said. “As soon as we got to the fair this year, he said that I better give that speech, and I kept saying I wasn’t doing it. But today he said that it means a lot to him, and he hopes I do a good job. I told him that I would try my best, wing it and say what is on my mind. He said as long as it’s good, it makes him proud.”

George says that being a 4-H member has meant a lot to him.

“I met a lot of friends through 4-H,” he said. “Most of my friends I have today, I met in the cattle barn, the pig barn and the goat barn. Just being around them and showing livestock together, it means a lot knowing that you can win with the ones you raised.”