You walk into the ring, your head held high, staring out into the competition with a strict and put together exterior. You continue with your steady walk, leading your animal and continuing your circle around the ring. The air smells of farm, dust, the nostalgia of fair and feels warm against your collared shirt, jeans and nervous stomach. You line your animal up, each showman and their sheep in line with the next. This is the story of Mary Habjan. A student, a showman a friend.
Mary Habjan is a member of the Glenwood 4-H club. 4-H is a youth program in which adult volunteers provide youth with positive, hands-on, fun and educational opportunities. 4-H allows students to participate in a number of events, including competitions in art, baking, design, woodworking and the showing of livestock.
“In the past I have participated in cooking, sewing, buyman ship, construction modeling and photography,” said Habjan.
Along with these, Habjan participates in livestock showing as well, competing with sheep, goats and pigs, as well as cattle, rabbits and chickens in the past.
Habjan joined 4-H at age seven and has been involved ever since. Years of showing has resulted in various accomplishments for habjan, including: 2020 FFA Grand Champion Breeding Doe, 2020 Blazing the Ring Spring Champion,Grand Champion Boer Goat, Reserve Champion Division 2 2020, Reserve Champion Senior Showman 2020 and Reserve Champion Lamb 2020.
“One great accomplishment of mine is through awards, such as winning the County Fair and getting to know my animals better, especially this year,” said Habjan.
Along with her accomplishments, Habjan has faced many challenges within 4-H as well. Habjan says that one challenge she faces is accepting failure, especially when her siblings perform don’t do as well within a show.
“Failure, as well as winning, has helped me to show better sportsmanship, everyone will either out buy you, out show you, or beat you. You just have to accept that they may be better than you and you can always try to beat them again next year,” said Habjan.
As well as helping her learn the importance of success and failures, 4-H has helped to shape Habjan into the person that she is today.
“Showing has made me a better person. I can understand what livestock is, and many people don’t get that same opportunity,” Said Habjan.
This year has changed many things, including how 4-H and livestock showing works. COVID-19 has increased safety measures and has caused certain changes within 4-H, for example causing limited attendance and a differing fair protocol restricting rides.
“COVID has made everything more difficult. Showing animals is much harder to do with these restrictions. It is harder to find time for everything now,” said Habjan.
While this year has proved different and more challenging, Habjan hopes to continue her 4-H journey for years to come and encourages others to join or look into 4-H as well.
“I would recommend 4-H to anyone, it’s a great project, especially when you know what you are doing. You get to develop a good group of friends who you get to see a lot, and it’s fun being able to relate to others and their knowledge of 4-H and showing,” said Habjan.
Habjan plans on continuing to show and participate in 4-H. Her last show for the season will take place Oct. 3.