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State 4-H Honors

by Gretchen Orr

PUEBLO- Huerfano County is well represented at the State Fair this year, with 15 kids showing a total of 22 projects.  The following three students did exceptionally well, winning Champion or Reserve Champion for their projects at the State Fair. 

    Gabrielle Ratajczak, age 18,  graduated from home school last spring.   She took seven projects to the fair, and won Grand Champion for her bread baking, and Reserve Champion for her spinning project. 

    The bread recipe she  used is for Swedish limpa, a rye bread with orange peel, whch she says is “very, very good especially with raspberry jam.”  The family home does not have electricty, so the bread was baked in a wood cook stove.  She says laughing, “That probably contributed to winning the ribbon,” because the judges were impressed that she could cook on a wood stove.  “It’s all in how much wood you put in.”  

    For her spinning project, Ratajczak says it all  started with sheep. ”We had to do something with the raw fleece, so I learned how to spin.  Then we had to do something with all that yarn,” so she taught herself, and her mother Sharon, to knit.  She is hoping to start a wool based business including dyeing and felting.  She is getting into the groove by teaching spinning classes.   She will hold free classes at the La Veta library on Sept 13, in the morning for children and in the afternoon for adults. Get details and sign up sheets at the library.   There is no need bring your own wheel or spindle unless you wish to.

    Ann Rowland, age 12, won Grand Champion for the red jacket she made as her clothing project.  She started it in July, a bit late, so it turned into a turbo sewing session.  She put 14 to 15 hours of sewing in on it over 4 days.  This is not to imply she did not sew the rest of the year.  Among other things, her 4-H project book included photos of a kraken (sea monster) costume she made for a Destination Imagination skit through school.   When she heard she had done so well at state, Grand  Champion at state fair, she screamed “I can’t believe it!”

    Ariel Jameson, age 17, proved the value of living in a high altitude mountain town.  She took Grand Champion at the State Fair for her Foods project which involved successfully modifying a traditional recipe for apple cake for high altitude baking, and to be more healthy.   She substituted applesauce and light margarine in place of butter.  She used whole wheat flour for half of the flour, and she used Splenda brown sugar in place of regular brown sugar.  She enjoys baking and is thinking about a career in nutrition and possibly becoming a dietician.  She has also entertained the idea of opening her own bakery and coffee shop. 

    Huerfano County 4-H members who received a first blue placing at the County 4-H Fair had their exhibits entered in the Colorado State Fair. 

    Full results of the judging are as follows:


Ariel Jameson    Champion


Amanda Wahl    Qualifier

Hallie Homerding    4th

Gabrielle Ratajczak    Champion


Ann Rowland    Champion

Megan Valdez    Qualifier


Gabrielle Ratajczak    3rd



Krissy Serra        6th


Gabrielle Ratajczak        4th


Hanna Kleinschmidt   Qualifier


Gabrielle Ratajczak     Reserve                         Champion


Gabrielle Ratajczak       3rd


Elizabeth Wahl          Qualifier


Samantha Ridings    10th


Lauren LaGow           Qualifier


Samantha Ridings    10th



Randy Sharp            Qualifier

Gabrielle Ratajczak     Qualifier


Steven Garcia        5th


Shaylee Andreata           Qualifier


Sofia Schneider    Qualifier


Gabrielle Ratajczak   Participation