When Bill and Wendy Sterzinger of rural Hendricks enrolled their sons, Jacob and Lucas, in the New Grove 4-H club in the fall of 2019, they had no idea that the boys’ first year in 4-H would be filled with pandemic restrictions. Like most 4-Hers, the boys and their parents were looking forward to the Lincoln County Fair and showcasing their hard work and learning through their exhibits at the fair. As everyone knows, 2020 had other plans.
Even during the pandemic, Jacob and Lucas, who are now entering 5th grade, worked with their animals to show during the 4-H Showcase in 2020. They exhibited ducks and pigs. While some pandemic restrictions were an inconvenience, the boys said they liked spending time with their animals and preparing for the showcase. Lucas also appreciated the opportunity to learn from his mistakes and plans to make sure he uses that feedback this year. “Don’t manhandle your duck,” is the advice he’s taken to heart from the poultry judge.
The boys have stories and memories of preparing their pigs for the fair - washing and walking them to get ready. Jacob’s pig, Delta, was a bit of a trouble maker, always knocking things around. The Sterzinger pigs even had their own swimming pool! The pigs would lounge in the pool once they were tame enough to be walked in the yard. And, when the pigs got too big and cracked the pool, the family got another one!
The Sterzinger boys are working hard this year to get ready for the Lincoln County Fair. And, while they’re excited about working in the 4-H Canteen and participating in the 4-H Ribbon Auction, they’re not entirely sure what to expect from their first experience at the traditional County Fair.
They’ll be bringing back ducks and pigs, and this year will be adding sheep to their livestock exhibits. Mom Wendy showed sheep when she was in 4-H, and the boys have been working with their lambs since the lambs were just a couple of hours old. This year, community members will also be able to see Jacob and Lucas’ handiwork in the 4-H General Exhibit building, as the boys plan to exhibit some jam that they make with their grandma.
Even though last year was only their first year in 4-H, Jacob and Lucas have already recruited friends to join 4-H with them! 4-H is a family affair, and the Sterzinger’s are sharing through multiple generations.