Fab Five to serve as 2021 Idaho County 4-H Ambassadors

2021 Ambassadors are from left: Ellea Uhlenkott, Halle Klapprich, Brooke Romney, Chloe Rowland and Rayne Martinez. Photo courtesy of Kelly Turney.
By Lorie Palmer
Idaho County Free Press
Five busy young women are this year's Idaho County 4-H Ambassadors.
Prairie High School (Cottonwood) seniors Ellea Uhlenkott and Halle Klapprich, sophomores Chloe Rowland (PHS) and Rayne Martinez (Kooskia's Clearwater Valley High School) and ninth grade homeschooler Brooke Romney of Kooskia make up the 2021 Ambassadors.
The brainchild of former University of Idaho extension agent, Mary Schmidt, the Idaho County Ambassadors made their debut in 1997. The program is meant to retain older 4-H participants and give them additional leadership and community opportunities. They especially assist Idaho County 4-H Director Susie Heckman and the extension office at the Idaho County Fair.
"I wanted a new look at the fair, as I have been involved for many years in 4-H and as a fashion board member," Rowland said.
Klapprich said it was a natural progression for her.
"I've been really involved in my 4-H club and with a lot of fair activities, plus as Idaho County Fair royalty, so it seemed like this was the next step," she explained.
Uhlenkott has been the president of her club for three years and heavily involved in the fashion show and other projects, so she also felt Ambassadors would be a good next step.
"There are a lot of young kids in our club, and it's nice to be able to be a role model in a different way," she added.
Romney said she is relatively new to the area and involved with 4-H.
"This seemed like a good way to get to know people and become more involved in the community," she said.
"I always looked up to the Ambassadors [when I was younger]," Martinez added.
All five young women said they thought the past year has been difficult with the cancellation of many activities during the pandemic; they also agreed they learned a lot during 2020.
"4-H is a good time to be social, so not having that in-person contact was difficult," Klapprich said. "But it also gave me more time to work on projects."
"It also was good to see the different way people figured out how to still be active in 4-H," Martinez said.
Romney agreed, "Yes, people got very creative."
All five Ambassadors are busy with not only their 4-H clubs, but also with a variety of school, church and community activities.
"It can be difficult to be in athletics and keep up on everything, but 4-H has been great for learning and practicing time management skills," Uhlenkott interjected.
The Ambassadors also all agree that 4-H has been instrumental in helping them overcome public speaking fears and learn to better interact socially, not only with their peers, but also with adults.
"Doing demonstrations on a regular basis makes that so much easier," Romney said.
"I can seem kind of timid at first, so 4-H has really been big in helping me with public speaking," Martinez emphasized.
Rowland said she is glad for the entire 4-H experience that allows kids to be successful in areas besides academics and athletics.
"4-H is another way to be connected to something, to belong and interact," she stated.
Heckman stressed nearly any subject can become a 4-H project, so all interest levels can be explored.
"And we live in a great, supportive community with leaders who have been in 4-H for generations," Heckman said.
The Ambassadors all agreed.
"We have a great community who really backs the 4-H program," Klapprich said.
"Especially when times are tough - like in 2020," Rowland added.
Anyone interested in applying for the Ambassadors program can contact Heckman at 208-983-2667.

B-Sides to provide musical entertainment

The B-Sides will perform Friday night at the fair.
Get ready to rock, roll, sing and dance! The B-Sides will offer Friday night entertainment at the fair. This is set for 7 p.m. at the new gazebo area.
The B-Sides play a wide variety of hits from across the decades and across genres. They specialize in classic Rock ‘n Roll, soul, motown, blues, and even a touch of country.
The B-Sides cover artists ranging all the way from Marty Robbins to Gnarls Barkley, including The Beatles, Everly Brothers, CCR, Roy Orbison, Ray Charles, BB King, Johnny Cash, The Who, Sam Smith, Brooks and Dunn and more.
So, sit back and enjoy some good vibes, or get up and dance. Your choice!

Fair Food Booth has long area history
By Lorie Palmer
Although the permanent food booth at the Idaho County Fair is now managed by Idaho County 4-H, it wasn't always that way. It shares a history with the former Idaho County Homemakers Extension Clubs.
A recollection written in 1986 by Marge Spengler, chairwoman of the food booth/snack bar, included the following:
"As close as I can recall, the snack bar first opened under the Idaho County Homemakers in 1959," Spengler wrote. She said Anna Hinkelman was president of the homemakers council and should be credited with the booth's opening.
That first year, they served hot dogs, doughnuts and coffee. The 4-H'ers were also there that first year, selling candy and gum.
"They did real well. We didn't do so well," Spengler wrote. "The kids just didn't want hot dogs. It was more fun to go downtown for hamburgers." They only made $7 profit that first year.
The open booth (no screens) did not have any of its own supplies, so the members brought everything from home. There also wasn't any running water - and hot water was provided by "generous fair neighbors."
During 1960, the club added hamburgers to its menu. County agent George Cook consented to a grill which was borrowed from Mary Lou Meyer. The grill could hold six patties at a time. If too many things (such as extra coffee pots) were plugged in, fuses would blow.
"Juanita Vonbargen and Mary Lou did an excellent job as fry cooks," Spengler wrote, adding they all worked together to form the patties by hand, and worked the booth in shifts from early morning until late night. On Friday, in deference to their Catholic customers, they served both egg salad and tuna sandwiches. They began to turn a profit.
In about 1962, Ben Studer, and his 4-H club members, built cupboards for storage. Later, a refrigerator and small freezer were added.
At one time, the county homemakers extension clubs numbered more than 20 throughout the county. As time went on, members became scarce, clubs folded and finally the homemakers council disbanded. The food booth was given over to the Idaho County 4-H program.
In 1989, 2019 fair grand marshal Bonnie Gehring took over the organization and management of the food booth, something she did for about 15 years. Then, 2021 fair grand marshal Bertie Forsmann took over and has been doing it ever since.
"I loved it. I like to cook and enjoyed working with people, so it was a good fit," Gehring said.
Forsmann said with updates throughout the years, she was happy to have extra freezer space for ice.
"That has been a lifesaver," she said. She has helped expand the menu to what it is today, which not only includes hamburgers, but also sausage, biscuits and gravy, a variety of pies, maple bars and beverages.
All proceeds from the 4-H food booth, after expenses, goes the Idaho County 4-H program. 

4-H Clubs takes turns working in the booth, such as (L-R) Kortney Sims, Hailey Russell and Rachel Kelley, with Rough Riders 4-H Club, did in 2015.

Archive photos of the various Extension Homemakers Council groups that started the Fair Food Booth.

Kiss the Pig tournament of champions
By Lorie Palmer
Idaho County Free Press
Who will be the repeat pig smoocher for 2021? It’s a year of champions for the annual Idaho County Fair “Kiss the Pig” contest.
Competing in the event for 2021 is the winner from 2010, Doug Giddings of White Bird; 2015’s winner, Lewiston dentist Dr. Bret Christensen; and 2016’s winner, Cody Funke of Grangeville.
“This year we are honoring some of our past champions, and it’s ok to buy votes!” said Idaho County 4-H Program Director Susie Heckman.
Heckman said the candidate with the most votes will have the “honor” of kissing the fair’s grand champion pig on livestock auction day, Saturday, Aug. 21. Votes for the candidates can be purchased at the Citizens Washington Focus (CWF) booth during the fair. Participants cast votes with $1 donations. All donations go toward the CWF 4-H project. The contest first started in 2010.
Dpug Giddings
Doug Giddings never participated in the 4-H program, but he grew up on a ranch and milked cows. His favorite part of the fair is “the burger joint” and sales day.
“My favorite animals are cattle, but we have some pheasants and chickens, too,” he said.
He will look for “good hams” in the grand champion pig, as ham is his favorite cut of meat on the hog. He is guessing the grand champion pig will weigh 250 pounds.
Why did he accept the nomination to possibly pucker-up for a pig?
“There’s a sucker born every minute … no, really, 4-H is a good cause and a great program,” Giddings said. “It keeps kids out of trouble, too.”
Giddings is the former Idaho County Sheriff and is currently involved in his church and was appointed by the governor to the Child at Risk program (12 years) to help trouble children/promote safety for children.
And if he receives the honor of kissing the pig, how will he celebrate?
“The honor?” he laughed. “Well, I guess just kissing the pig is celebration enough.”
Bret Christensen
Bret Christensen spent his years in 4-H with a dairy cow project. Now, he enjoys the food at the fair, particularly curly fries.
His favorite animal?
“To eat?” he questioned. “The pig!”
His favorite cut of pork is bacon, and he would like to see “all the pigs weigh more than 280 pounds!” He is a sports fan and supports community events and participants as much as he can.
Dr. Christensen has been placing braces on Idaho County kids for many years, and feels this gives him an “advantage” to become the pork smacker.
“I will win – too many kids want revenge on me,” he laughed.
If he wins the contest, how will be celebrate? With food, of course.
“A pulled pork sandwich and huckleberry ice-cream,” he grinned.
Cody Funke
Cody Funke was never in 4-H as a kid, but his favorite day at the fair now is sales day.
What does he look for in a grand champion pig?
“Lots of bacon content,” he laughed. That’s his favorite cut of pork.
Although Funke said he didn’t have much of a choice in accepting the nomination of potential pig-kisser (“My wife accepted for me”), he is being a good sport and is guessing the grand champ will weigh in at 280 pounds.
Funke is the Idaho County Coroner, a member of Syringa and St. Mary’s EMS teams and is on the Snowhaven Ski Patrol.
If he wins the contest, he said kissing the pig will be a celebration all of its own.

From left are this year's Kiss the Pig contestants, all former winners. From left are Doug Giddings, Bret Christensen and Cody Funke.

New covered gazebo to host musicians and more
By Lorie Palmer
Idaho County Free Press
In 1995, the Idaho County Centennial Committee donated a gazebo to the Idaho County Fairgrounds.
For 25 years, the gazebo served as a stage for performers, shade for passersby, a place to have lunch, and a shelter to take a rest while at the fair.
Last year, the fair board was able to replace the aging structure with money it has saved and budgeted. The new covered stage and performing area has bench seating around it.
“We re-placed the centennial committee donation sign, as the committee members were the ones to place the original gazebo there and should be remembered,” fair board secretary Pam McIntire said.
Stop by the new covered gazebo area during the fair to listen to music, see the new digs or to take a break. It is located by the outdoor vendors by the pig, sheep and Open Class barns. While there, take a peek behind the original sign on the gazebo to view the names of centennial committee members and longtime fair supporters: Harold Wasem, chair; Enid Newman, treasurer; Eldene Wasem, Carm Spencer, Carol Sue Hauntz, Ivan Nuxoll, Dina Nuxoll and June Fansler.

The new covered stage and gazebo at the Idaho County Fair was completed just prior to the 2020 fair.  This is where the band “B-Sides” will play Friday evening. The Old-Time Fiddlers will play there on Thursday at 1 p.m. Shown above is "Beargrass" performing at the 2020 Idaho County Fair.

This is a clseup of the placard that cane be seen at center front in the above gazebo photo.



















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