Kay County 4-H attends 98th Annual "Roundup" at OSU

August 07, 2019

Oklahoma State University gave way to the traditional color of orange in favor of green recently as 4-H’ers from across the state arrived on campus for the 98th State 4-H Roundup. More than 800 youth and adults took part in the three-day event which featured educational opportunities, fun and recognition. This year’s theme was Passport to the Past, Ticket to Tomorrow.

Delegates from Kay County who attended include Colton Tripp, Haley Merhoff, Wyatt Miller, Tyler Gilbert, Nolan Overman, Dillin Miller, Payton St. Andrews, Mariana Horinek, Austin Grossardt, Riley Price, Izeah Mitchell and extension educators Shannon Mallory and Brenda Medlock.  

“State 4-H Roundup is the culmination of the 4-H year and provides an opportunity to recognize the hard work and dedication club members across the state have put in over the past year,” said Jeff Sallee, Oklahoma 4-H science and technology state specialist. “We have something for everyone, including friendly competitions, district rallies, campaign speeches, educational workshops, dances and more.”

4-H’ers had an opportunity to participate in a variety of competitions, including Livestock Quiz Bowl, 4-H Food Showdown, Clover Quiz Bowl, Land Judging, Fashion Revue, Job Readiness, Tractor Contest, Vocal Contest and 4-H Has Talent. The winners of some of these contests will go on to represent Oklahoma in the national contests. Representing Kay County in the 4-H Food Showdown Contest was Dillin Miller, Tyler Gilbert and Izeah Mitchell from Tonkawa 4-H.

4-H Roundup is steeped in tradition and recognizing and honoring club members has been happening since day one. The announcement of the two State 4-H Hall of Fame inductees has been a highlight State 4-H Roundup and of the Honor Night Assembly for many years. The two club members taking home this coveted award were Madison Stephens, Custer County, and Serena Woodard, Pittsburg County. Each also received a $2,500 scholarship sponsored by Oklahoma Ag Credit.

Recognition is not reserved solely for club members. Roundup also is a time to recognize those who support the organization. Sen. Ron Justice, a former Extension educator and now-retired legislator, was presented the State Partner in 4-H award. This award is given to individuals and groups who have provided significant support to Oklahoma 4-H. Also recognized with this award was Enel Green Power. The company has generously supported the STEMist program, which has reached thousands of youth.

Another time-honored tradition is the recognition of former 4-H members who have made significant contributions to their communities since they completed their 4-H membership. This year’s 4-H Alumni Award winner was Becky Walker, who currently serves as the 4-H educator in Pontotoc County.

During the Honor Night Assembly, club members walked away with more than $100,000 in educational scholarships, thanks to the generous donors to the Oklahoma 4-H Foundation.

There was an extra celebration following the Honor Night Assembly as the delegates and adults in attendance celebrated the 80th year State 4-H Roundup took place in Gallagher/Iba Arena. Starting in 1921 with the very first State 4-H Roundup, events took place in tents on the campus of what was then Oklahoma A&M College. A storm blew in one year in the mid-1930s and toppled the tents.

In light of the storm, and A&M students needing more space on campus, Oklahoma legislators were asked for funds to build a field house that would be called the 4-H and Student Activities Building. The building was officially dedicated June 1, 1939 during Roundup and each State 4-H Roundup since that time has taken place in what is now Gallagher/Iba Arena.

Another event that is starting to become a tradition was Pete’s Picnic. 4-H Roundup always has been a way to introduce high school students to what OSU has to offer in the way of higher education. During Pete’s Picnic, academic departments and clubs from all of the colleges on campus offered information on majors, classes, work/study options and other highlights.

Cynda Clary, associate dean with OSU’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, said it is important for potential students to discover more about what OSU can offer.

“4-H plays an important role in encouraging and training young people be service-driven leaders. I want each of those 4-H’ers to know there are many career paths in agriculture and natural resources where their enthusiasm, intelligence and work ethic can help change the world for the better,” Clary said. “Pete’s Picnic was a great opportunity to meet our future leaders and share that important career message.”

The Capstone Assembly was full on fun and excitement as 4-H’ers geared up to close out the 98th State 4-H Roundup. Oklahoma 4-H’ers did themselves proud with their Change for Change project. This is a project in which club members collect spare change all year long and donate it to the Children’s Hospital Foundation. The group set a lofty goal of $20,000 this year. Their effort paid off as they surpassed their goal with a total of $22,765.

Another highlight of the assembly was the announcement of the 2019-2020 State Leadership Council.

Elected to office were Madison Stephens, president, Custer County; Kristen Chapa, vice president, Marshall County; Grace Palmer, secretary, McCurtain County; Erin Slagell, reporter, Custer County; Colby Erickson, recreation leader, Muskogee County; Cortney Evans, West District representative, Grady County; Ethan Haggard, West District representative, Garfield County; Callee Hammer, West District representative, Roger Mills County; Emily Butler, Southeast District representative, Carter County; Olivia Napier, Southeast District representative, Pushmataha County; Kamryn Brewer, Southeast District representative, Seminole County; Elizabeth Chambers, Northeast District representative, Osage County; Lilyana Sestak, Northeast District representative, Lincoln County; and Clayton Wallace, Northeast District representative, Cherokee County.

The Oklahoma 4-H Youth Development Program is part of OSU’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources and engages thousands of youth across the state on an annual basis.