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Chestnut Ridge 4-H members place at Westmoreland Fair

| Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Cami DiBattista | for Trib Total Media
Clair Sirofchuck, 14, (right) of Ligonier; and Austin Steffey,12, of Stahlstown, are members of the Chestnut Ridge 4-H Club who placed in events at the Westmoreland Fair. Sirofchuck received a best of show in the 4-H woodworking category for her hope chest and Steffey won first place and best of show for his marshmallow catapult.
Cami DiBattista | for Trib Total Media
Rebecca Milko of Latrobe judges participants at the Westmoreland Fair dog show. Casey Lucas, 8, of Fairfield Township, a first time participant at the fair, showed Abby, his lab mix. Lucas won first place for both his fair demonstration 'All About Abby' and his pet care scrapbook.
Cami DiBattista | for Trib Total Media
Vincent Steffey, 9, of Stahlstown, and his mixed-breed dog Buddy win a first- place trophy for obedience and a third place for agility at the Dog Show.

Several Ligonier youth who are members of the Chestnut Ridge 4-H Club had a successful and busy week participating in activities at the 60th Westmoreland Fair.

“We have a big, talented group of 4-H kids in Ligonier,” said Kelly Steffey of Stahlstown, who had three children participate in the fair events.

A diverse club covering most 4-H projects, the local organization has approximately 60 members that range in age from 6-18, most of whom are from the Ligonier Valley School District area.

Austin Steffey, 12, is a seventh-grader at Laurel Valley Middle School. He was awarded first place for his photography project book, first place in robotics, first place for his robotics poster, first place and best of show for his robotics marshmallow catapult, and first place for his model rocket display.

Steffey said he enjoys participating in the fair activities because it is fun.

“I liked being able to demonstrate my robotic projects and talk to the judge about how they work,” said Steffey.

Vincent Steffey, 9, a fourth-grader at R.K. Mellon Elementary School, placed second for photography enlargement, second in veterinary science for his pet care scrap book and fourth for his pet care poster.

Vincent and his dog, Buddy, brought home a first place-trophy for obedience for his age group and third for agility.

“It's fun to do projects for the fair because you can win prizes and compete against others,” Vincent Steffey said.

Allyson Steffey, 7, won fourth place for her sewing project of an apron.

“I think 4-H is amazing because there are so many different projects the kids can do,” said the children's mother, Kelly Steffey. “And I like that it's more than just making a wood project or sewing a piece of clothing — each project has a book that must be completed and turned in at the end of the 4-H year. The books require the kids to think beyond their projects and ask questions relevant to everyday life.”

According to the group's website, members of the Chestnut Ridge 4-H Club are involved in activities featuring food and nutrition, textile science, dogs, swine, rocketry, archery, photography, plant science, tractors, shooting sports, pet care, rabbits, beekeeping, babysitting, sheep, goats, wildlife, landscaping projects and more.

Clair Sirofchuck, 14, of Ligonier is in her sixth year of the Chestnut Ridge 4-H Club. She is also on the teen leadership council.

Sirofchuck received a best of show is the 4-H woodworking category for her hope chest. Additionally, she received first place for her poster: food safety at the fairgrounds (which will go on to the state competition at the PA State Farm Show in January), first place for her watercolor painting and second place for her hand-built ceramic chicken.

“I enjoy competing at the fair because of all the challenges it offers me,” Sirofchuck said. “Every year I have the opportunity to do better than the past year; to beat old high scores and to get a higher placing in a continuing project.”

Sirofchuck said she likes participating in 4-H and fair activities because of the opportunities it provides her.

“4H has helped me in becoming who I am today,” she said.

Casey Lucas 8, of Fairfield Township, competed for the first time in 4-H activities at the fair.

“I'm a big fan of him participating,” said his mother, Jen Lucas, who herself grew up being involved in 4-H.

Casey Lucas participated in several events. His geology project and pet care scrapbook both won first-place awards.

Maddie Lancashire, 14, of Ligonier won grand champion goat showman and received 4-H reserve champion for her goat, Pants.

“I feel really excited that I won champion showman. It had been my goal forever to win champion showman,” Lancashire said. Additionally, she won grand champion home bred and reserve champion carcass lamb.

“I have been showing at the Westmoreland Fair for about nine years,” Lancashire said. “I like it because there is lots of competition and I have a lot of friends at the fair, so it's a lot of fun.”

Cami DiBattista is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.