Four families embrace the 4-H tradition |

Four families embrace the 4-H tradition

Noelle Leavitt Riley
Chris, Jolene, 6, and Pepper Rhyne, 8, hang out with their pig Snow. Pepper has been prepping Snow for the Moffat County Fair that will take place at the fairgrounds in Craig Aug. 5 through 10.
Noelle Leavitt Riley

The Moffat County Fair offers several opportunities for 4-H families to showcase their hard work, and this year the fair would like to highlight the dedication and determination of four families who have gone above and beyond for the organization.

Children can enter 4-H at the age of eight, and they are given a slue of responsibilities that help them develop into young adults. Words like respect, deadlines and budgets come alive as they put 4-H to practice. That’s exactly what the following families have done.

Each parent has a sense of pride when talking about what 4-H has done for their family lifestyle and the overall well being of their place in society.

The Rhyne family

Gregg and Chris Rhyne are the proud parents of Pepper, 8, and Jolene, 6.

It’s the first year that Pepper has taken part in 4-H and he’s thrilled to introduce his two pigs — Spot and Snow — to the Moffat County Fair.

The greatest thing about Pepper’s involvement in 4-H is “the responsibility and taking on the pig himself,” said his mother Chris Rhyne. “That is the biggest thing he took away from that. Also, the initiative of doing the chores and cleaning the pens himself.”

Pepper walks his pigs for 20 minutes twice a day, is required to keep the pigs under 290 pounds and has to keep track of all the money he spends on the upkeep.

His little sister, Jolene, likes to tag along and help him complete various chores.

Jolene, who is in cloverbuds, is going to showcase her chicken in an open class.

Chris Rhyne, a Craig native who has been active in the Moffat County Fair and 4-H most of her life, is thrilled that her kids are involved.

“I am from Craig and had showed through all the 4-H programs and had been a volunteer,” she said.

The family has 10 pigs — two of which are 4-H pigs — 13 chickens, five horses and two dogs.

The Gerber Family

Wade Gerber has earned his right to brag about his family’s involvement in 4-H.

His wife, Tinneal Gerber, participated in 4-H throughout her life and has served on the Moffat County Fair Board.

Their two kids Tyler, 17, and Kearn, 15, have been heavily involved in shooting sports and livestock, and Wade Gerber is currently the leader of the 4-H shotgun group.

“I did 4-H when I was a kid too here in Moffat County. I think it’s an aspect that teaches you a good basis for how to live your life,” Gerber said. “4-H’s motto isn’t about being a champ, instead they utilize all of these aspects to make better people out of kids.”

He embraces the fact that it has taught his family how to work together while competing against others to reach a common goal.

“It’s a lot of work, it’s a lot of stress, but you always look forward to it,” he said.

This year, his children are participating in the beef and swine show.

“As far as the market swine, we go and buy those,” Gerber said. “The kids handle them and do everything they need to do with them. They pretty much do it all them selves.”

The Coy Family

Sheila Coy couldn’t be more proud of her daughter Hannah, 18, who is wrapping up her last year in 4-H.

For the first time, Hannah is showing her market and breeding chickens, and she’s also doing a breeding rabbit project and a vet project.

“Though you do have to have hard work, there’s that great opportunity to show off what you’ve done,” Coy said, noting that it’s extremely rewarding when adults are helping them learn how to show their animals in the showmanship class.

“They have to learn how to show their rabbit to the judge. They have to present their animal and have to learn a speech that they create themselves,” Coy said.

Hannah will have showcase her Mini Rex rabbit from nose to tail in front of the show judges. She and fellow 4-H members have spent hours learning how to properly present each animal.

“A lot of those skills of having a responsibility with deadlines” helps prepare kids for life in the real world, Coy said.

“It’s her last year in 4-H, so she’s trying to go out with a bang,” she said.

Hannah plans on taking classes this fall at Colorado Northwestern Community College.

The Voloshin Family

Sue and Mark Voloshin have three children involved in 4-H, and they’re pumped for this year’s Moffat County Fair.

“I grew up in a 4-H family — my husband and I both,” Sue Voloshin said. “Living on a ranch, it’s kind of a family tradition.”

She too has huge admiration for what 4-H has meant for her kids over the years.

“It teaches them respect of your community. It’s a huge learning experience. They also have to complete a record book at the end. They have to track their finances, they have to track their feed,” Voloshin said.

It’s those kind of responsibilities that make them strong and ready to tackle whatever life throws at them.

“Like any family, with any project you’re doing, you have to work together,” Voloshin said.

Her family specializes in horses, steers and lambs. Her oldest child, Katia, 15, has helped set the 4-H standards for her siblings Payton, 11, and Michael, 9.

“It’s a huge service project, because they have to help each other out,” she said.

Both Katia and Payton have debuted as fair royalty in the past. Katia served as the Intermediate Fair Queen, and Payton was a Junior Fair Queen.

“That’s a big project for any girl that takes on that responsibility,” Voloshin said. There’s something for every kid.”

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