Stephanie Pearce: A little wool goes a long way
January has been a month of non-stop going in our household. If you had told me even a year ago that my daughter would be achieving all that she is right now, I would have laughed in your face. She is a normal teenager but is accomplishing so much, not only for herself, but for our community. If she can do all of these things, I hope that she is an inspiration to motivate all of our young people to think out of the box, step out of their comfort zone and do something amazing.
I have learned so much about my daughter this past year. Most importantly, I learned she has a heart for our community and treasures her roots. I also learned that when she puts her mind to something she gets it done. At the beginning of 2014, she was planning her 4-H projects. She wanted to do a project that showcased her pride in Moffat County and her agricultural heritage. Her great-grandpas, Pat Sweeney and James Haggerty, were both ranchers in our community. Pat had been very successful. When the beef market toppled in the 1940s, he introduced sheep into his production and accredited them with saving the ranch in those tough times. Knowing this, Samantha decided she wanted her sewing project to be wool.
She wanted the project to come from our local ranchers and showcase the fibers, businesses, and talent of our community. She used wool from locally grown sheep from the Wellman Ranch. She worked with Fiber Works, our local wool mill, to learn the process of taking the fiber, cleaning it, dying it, and spinning it into yarn. Samantha was involved in all of those processes. Susan Domer worked with her and showed her how to weave the yarn into fabric. Samantha was hands on in this process as well. After Susan finished up the fabric, Samantha took it and sewed it into a beautiful sheath dress.
The dress won grand champion for the construction and Fashion Review at our county fair. At State Fair, she won Reserve for the Construction and Grand Champion for the Fashion Review. This sent her to the National Western Roundup earlier this month where she won Reserve National Champion. She also won our state Make it with Wool competition and right now, I am in Reno, Nevada, as she competes nationally in the competition. That is some representation for our little community at national competitions not once, but twice in the same month. At every competition, she mentions where her wool came from and the businesses and artisans that helped her get there.
Samantha never imagined sewing a dress would take her to national competitions like it has. She wanted kids to take pride in our community and think outside the box to do it. She wanted them to see that 4-H is more than just livestock, but it can be agriculture related even without it being livestock. She wanted to be an inspiration to kids to try harder and go farther. I am so proud of her and I hope our community is too. When we get home, her dress will be on display at the Moffat County Tourism Center in the mall. Stop by and see it sometime.
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