From the horse track to the race track
LUVERNE -- On Wednesday afternoon, Jasmine Kalass was getting her pens of chickens and ducks ready for the 4-H poultry show, but her real passion has been her horse project. Her horses, a Paint named Joe and a Quarter Horse named Bud, will arrive at the Rock County Fair this morning.
Kalass and Joe will compete on Friday in the English and Western Pleasure classes of the 4-H Horse show. Then, on Saturday, she and Bud, her games horse, will do their best in the Jump Figure 8, key hole, pole weaving, barrels and egg and spoon races.
Saturday will be a busy day for Kalass. After competing in her final 4-H Horse Show events, she will participate in the Parade of Champions and then suit up for the Enduro Race in the grandstand that night.
"The last day of fair is always my rush day," Kalass said, adding that this is her third year competing in the enduro. Three years ago, she was the only female driver, but now, her aunt and her brother's girlfriend will also be racing.
Whether it's racing cars or racing around the barrels with her horse, one thing is for sure. Kalass is already expecting it to be a rough day on Saturday -- her final fair day as a 4-H member. This fall, she will graduate from the program and continue her education in the cosmetology program at Minnesota West Community and Technical College's Pipestone campus.
"It's sad. I know it's really going to hit me at the horse show, because that's my favorite time of (the fair)," Kalass said. "I know my mom is sad, too. She was in 4-H when she was a girl."
The daughter of Terry and Beth, Kalass has high hopes of winning a trip to the Minnesota State 4-H Horse Show this fall.
"I've never gotten to go in horse and that's one of the things I've wanted to do," she said.
The State 4-H Horse Show is in September, following the Minnesota State Fair. If she earns a trip, Kalass said she will have to miss some school.
"But, it's worth it. My last year, I think it's worth it," she said with a laugh.
While Kalass competes in both the pleasure and games contests at the Rock County Fair, she also serves as instructor for the horseless horse project. The project is for 4-H members who are interested in horses but don't have one of their own.
"We help younger kids that want to have a horse or learn more about horses," she explained. "They learn how to act around a horse, how to take care of them, how to show them -- we even give them a chance to ride."
There are two members in the horseless horse project this year, and both live in town.
"They're really excited to ride," Kalass said.
This morning, the 4-H'ers will learn about washing a horse and getting it ready for the horse show by helping Kalass.
"I'm showing them how to bathe the horse, so we will actually give Joe a bath on Thursday," Kalass said. "Then, Thursday night, I will band his mane for the English show, because it has to be in all these tiny little rubber bands. Bud, we usually don't do anything for because he's not a big fan of the hose."
In addition to her horses, Kalass also exhibited in photography, vegetable gardening, potato gardening, clothing and poultry. During Wednesday night's 4-H poultry show, she showed one pen of market ducks, a pen of market chickens, two pens of egg production chickens (Araucona breed) and one pen of breeding chickens (Cochin breed).
To get the poultry ready for the fair, she washed them in a bucket of warm, soapy water.
"The ducks are usually cleaner -- they get a little pool at our house filled with water so they can go in it," she said.
Kalass has been enrolled in both the horse and poultry projects since she began her 4-H career. Prior to joining the traditional program as a third-grader, she spent a few years in the Cloverbud program. 4-H is open to all youths ages Kindergarten through one year past high school.
"My brother (Spenser) was in it and I'd always wanted to be in it," Kalass said of 4-H.
Today, she serves as president of the nine-member Willing Workers 4-H Club and is a Rock County 4-H Ambassador. In that role, she helps lead the 4-H Day Camp and other county-wide 4-H programs.
Kalass said 4-H has helped her to become a role model.
"Being an Ambassador helped me to get to know younger kids and help them learn things that they can do in 4-H," Kalass said. "It's helped me to get a long ways because I used to be so shy around everyone.
"To take care of your animals, you learn responsibility ... and you make a lot of new friends," she added.