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Dream becomes reality with hard work

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4-H has always prided itself for imparting knowledge to youth that helps them develop life skills and become productive members of society.
In 2006, Elizabeth Mintz participated in the N.C. State Fair Youth Market Turkey Program through the help of her local 4-H office. In May of that year, she received four turkey poults that were less than two days old. She raised them until the state fair rolled into town and presented her best bird for competition, where she placed 14th in her class.
Perseverance set in and she researched feed and living conditions for her birds, next year, returning to the competition and placing third in her class with a 45-pound turkey. Inspired by it all, she talked other youth in the county into joining the program and also began showing her leftover poults at the Cape Fear Fair and Expo. She continued raising turkeys through this program for the next two years.
On Oct. 13, 2006, Blair Green, a 4-H extension agent, clearly remembers walking with Mintz through the livestock barns after she finished showing turkeys and her saying, “Mrs. Blair, one day I want to show cows here at the state fair.” With help and encouragement from 4-H, she spent the next few years moving her way up the ladder and gaining experience showing livestock by raising dairy goats, teaching other 4-H youth how to show and even letting them borrow her goats to show at the state fair.
In the spring of 2010, her dream to show cattle started to take form when she purchased her first Hereford calf from Churchill Farms in South Carolina. She began handling the heifer, whom she named Tori, and preparing her for the show world. She took Tori to several county fairs and even the N.C. State Fair, where she placed fifth in her class.
This year, Mintz took on an added challenge. She borrowed an Angus/Gelebviah-cross heifer from Funston Farms to show in commercial classes. This took a lot of work on her part to teach the new heifer to lead and be handled, since the calf was accustomed to living out in a pasture with hundreds of other cattle.
With perseverance and hard work, she transformed her second heifer, Pistol, into a show animal that she hauled along with Tori to every county fair in the southeastern part of the state.
She stole the show everywhere she went. At the Robeson County Fair, she placed second in her class with Pistol and first with Tori in her class and then advanced on to take overall grand champion for the fair with Tori.
She placed in showmanship and won third at the Sampson County Fair. At the Cumberland County Fair, Tori placed second, and Pistol finished third for showmanship along with a first-place reserve. Mintz also finished third in showmanship with Pistol.
At the Lenoir County Fair, she took third place with Pistol and fifth with Tori. At the Wayne County Fair, she placed second with Pistol and sixth with Tori.
At the North Carolina State Fair, Tori finished third in her class and Mintz was awarded the showmanship pin in her division. Pistol came in second in her class. She also placed third in the dairy goat youth show.
Mintz took both heifers and her goats to the Cape Fear Fair and Expo this year for the public to see. Continuing with her showing efforts, she won two first-place awards for her heifers, the Best in Show award with Tori, three first places and one second-place award for her goats, five first-place awards with chickens and roosters, a Best in Show with a hen, and first place in the costume contest with her baby goat.
She took home one of the most prized possessions of the Cape Fear Fair and Expo for the second year in a row when she received the highly coveted Claude McAllister Fancy Feather Award.
To learn more about Brunswick County 4-H and how to participate in activities like these, contact Blair Green, 4-H extension agent, at blair_wooten@ncsu.edu or Angie Lawrence, 4-H program assistant, at angie_lawrence@ncsu.edu. Call the Cooperative Extension office at 253-2610 or visit its website at http://brunswickco4h.shutterfly.com/ or blog at http://brunswick4h.wordpress.com.