Cloverbuds get hands-on fair experience

Young fair participants, aging from 5 to 8 years old, spent Wednesday morning circling one of the show rings at the Mecosta County Agricultural Free Fair during horse Cloverbud classes. Maggie Butts rides her horse, Lucy, as she circles the ring. (Pioneer photos/Meghan Gunther-Haas)

BIG RAPIDS — Asking any 4-H’er about their Mecosta County Agricultural Free Fair experiences may result in a variety of stories, but overall each competitor has something similar to say. There is plenty of fun to be had in raising an animal, preparing for the show ring and the competitions.

Family members and friends walked alongside the Cloverbuds during the lead line ride on Wednesday.

However, there is an age range for some experiences, such as earning grand and reserve champion titles. Competitive 4-H’ers range in age from 9 to 19, while their younger peers, Cloverbuds, range from 5 to 8 years old.

“Cloverbuds are considered non-competitive, but they get to participate,” said Tarin Minkel, Mecosta County 4-H program coordinator. “Four-H is about learning new things and the younger kids learn from the older ones; a lot of times the younger kids have a mentor that helps them.”

On Wednesday, Cloverbuds took to the horse ring to show their riding skills. Each participant was awarded a ribbon after exiting the ring.

“The Cloverbud program is a great opportunity for kids to get involved and try new things,” Minkel said. “It’s a great way to test everything out.”

Children too young to be a Cloverbud will enter the ring today, Thursday, July 12, during the baby calf show, set to begin at noon.

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Posted by Meghan Gunther-Haas

Meghan is the education reporter for the Pioneer and Herald Review. She can be reached at (231) 592-8382 or by email at mhaas@pioneergroup.com.

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