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The Kentucky State Fair starts Thursday and a new generation of young people are ready to carry Shelby County’s history of success into a new generation.
“We have several kids showing [at the state fair] all across the board in different areas,” said Regina Browning, 4-H agent at the Shelby County Cooperative Extension office. “They are entered in most all the livestock shows – beef cattle, dairy cattle, sheep, goats, pigs. We’re pretty steady on the livestock entries.”
Some of those youngsters have been showing livestock and winning blue ribbons for years, like Rachel White, with her dairy cows, and many others.
Corrine Belton, ag extension agent for Shelby County, said that her children will also be participating at the 4-H state level. Jaycie 16, who has been showing for 12 years, will be showing goats, lambs and heifers and her son Kayden, 10, who has been showing for seven years, will be showing pigs and heifers. They are among many Shelby County youngsters eager to show their animals, she said, adding that most of them, like her children, are seasoned showman.
Shelby’s 4-H students may be dreaming of someday reaching the superstar status of state fair competition like the incomparable Jeanne Kemper of Bagdad, who has been competing for 30 years since she was in 4-H, and who earns an average of 40 ribbons each year with her scrumptious breads, cakes, candy and other baked goods.
And 11-year-old Katie Stine of Shelbyville might just be able to one day take that torch from Kemper.
An energetic six-grader at East Middle School with a shy smile and a budding gift for baking, she discovered her talent last year when she took home two blue ribbons from the state fair for her granola bars and brownies.
This year, she has entered her chocolate cake, cranberry scones and bran muffins, items that she won blue ribbons for at the Shelby County Fair, even taking grand champion for her scones.
Her parents, Alissa and Andy Stine, say she has been working hard preparing for the competition.
“I was so proud, and so proud especially that she won grand champion at the county fair,” said Alissa Stine. “People don't realize how much effort goes into sewing and baking, and she spends a lot of hours working on those things each year, two times, for the county fair and the state fair. My mother-in-law, her grandmother, they baked all day Saturday and took everything yesterday to the fair. My mother-in-law said she barely woke up and had coffee, and she [Katie] said, it's time to get cooking!”
Carol Stine, Katie’s grandmother, said her job is to oversee the cooking, but that the youngster does all the work.
“She does everything, grandma just makes sure she has all the ingredients,” she said with a chuckle. “ And everything is made from scratch with buttermilk and cocoa and everything; it's not from a box.”
“I do a lot of cooking at her [grandmother] house; we make pancakes in the morning,” Katie Stine said.
Her grandmother said that she and her husband, Phillip, look forward to their granddaughter’s visits.
“When she comes over here, she makes pancakes for breakfast; she likes to do that stuff,” she said. “When a child wants to do that kind of thing, I think that's great. When you get an interest going like that, you have to keep going, and I like to coach her; it's a lot of fun.”
Katie is branching out even more this year, with a skirt that she made herself that she won grand champion for at the county fair in June.
An adorable creation, she even modeled the green A-line tiered skirt with ruffles and a zipper in back at the spring fashion show at the extension office.
“She worked a long time on that,” said Carol Stine, adding that Katie is really enthused about sewing now.
“Maybe over the winter, we'll work on some more things [for sewing entries] for next year.”
Said Phillip Stine: “We are all so very proud of her.”