When Blaze Hildebrand got to the Exhibit Hall at the State Fair last week he got a little anxious.
Hildebrand, 15 and a student at Boonville High School, said he couldn't find his project at first. He had worked hard on his water control tank for a cistern and wanted to see the result. He knew he had worked his way up from his first year circuitand his second year lighting project, but his project wasn't where it was supposed to be.
Little did he know, his project made its way to the display area for sweepstakes winners. Not only did he win the top spot with an orange ribbon at the state fair, he also got a sweepstakes award for his project.
"I saw the box and I saw the little purple thing and it hit me," he said. "I couldn't believe it. I was trying to contain my excitement. It felt life changing. I put all this work in and put my heart into it and I finally got it."
Hildebrand said he became interested in electricity after working on projects with his dad. He said he found electrical engineering interesting and knew it would be a good fit for him to take on in 4-H.
Ultimately, Hildebrand said he stuck with it because it's been a good challenge. He said the things he learned before helped him be prepared to take on this year's project.
"Everything I've been learning up to this point all went into it," he said.
Hildebrand said 4-H has helped him gain confidence and grow from a shy kid to someone who is outgoing and ready to make choices on his own. He said he's gained life skills and independence while learning about the specific topics in the projects he's worked on.
"Whatever the project is, you always learn something from it," he said.
This year 26 Warrick County 4-Hers took home orange ribbons in their projects at the state fair, 89 got blue ribbons, 25 red and two white.
Warrick County 4-H Members State Fair Orange Ribbon Award Winners
Blaze Hildebrand | Sweepstakes winner | Advanced Electric
Hunter Harper | Grade 3-5 Rocket, Stage 2
Kendall Johnson | Needle Craft
Hunter Harper | Model Craft
Graceyn Loughrie | Division 2 Chunk Honey
David Loughrie | Division 2 Chunk Honey
Natalie Bush | Cake Decorating, Advance, Grade 9-12
Elizabeth Neeley | Computer Grade 9-12, Level 3
Jenna Smith | Consumer Clothing, Grade 6-8, Intermediate
Kendall Johnson | Consumer Clothing, Grade 9-12, Advanced
Kaleb Beatty | Electric, Division 2
Jacob Heidorn | Floriculture, Grade 7-9, Level C, Combination or European Planter
Elizabeth Neeley | Preserved Foods, Grade 10-12, Cooked Jam or Reduced-Sugar Fruit Spread
Desie Potts | Home Environment, Grade 3-5, Level 1, Furniture
Desie Potts | Photography | Grade 3-5, Level 1, Color Prints
Elizabeth Neeley | Photography, Grade 9-12, Level 3, Color Prints
Breanna Metzger | Photography, Grade 9-12, Level 3, Black & White Salon Print
Maria Biggins | Rabbit Poster, Grade 6-8, Level 2
Desie Potts | Sewing Construction, Grade 3, Non-Wearable
Kate Schadler | Sewing Construction, Grade 9, Non-Wearable
Casson Fletcher | Shooting Sports Education, Grade 9-12, Level 3
John Moesner | Small Engines, Grade 9-12, Level 3
Kael Fields | Tractor Safety Education, Grade 3-4, Level A
Delanie Potts | Weather and Climate Science, Grade 6-8, Level 2
Elliot Westrich | Wildlife, Grades 9-12, Level 3
Markie Lance | Woodworking, Grade 7-9, Level C