Iowa 4-H Foundation

Posted on November 6, 2014 at 2:25 PM by Global Reach

The first 4-H club in Ida County was established in 1919, with the county agent, M.L. Henderson, acting as 4-H leader.  In 1920, the first 4-H fair was held.  The first fair lasted three days, and it was considered a great success.

A purebred sow and litter club and was active in 1921 with 20 members.  At that time Ida County did not have a fairgrounds, so they used rented tents and buildings.  The fair was held September 7, 8, & 9 with sixteen members exhibiting.   Burdette Collin won the loving cup offered by the Record Era of Ida Grove.  The fair showed a profit of $20 that year.  This was considered a great success, since most fairs that year showed a financial loss.

In 1922 several 4-H clubs were organized, including a baby beef club, a purebred gilt club, and a purebred sow and littler club.  Girls’ clubs were started in Battle, Logan and Silver Creek townships.  Miss Ella Stoneking was leader in Battle, Mrs. Frank O’Meara in Logan, and Miss Sarah Bleakly in Silver Creek.

A county-wide baby beef club with seventeen members was organized in 1923.  The county agent served as the club leader.  Girls’ clothing clubs were organized the same year with the purpose of studying improved shoes, learning parliamentary law, and to interest girls in keeping personal records to exhibit at the county fair.  A county program committee was organized that year to help draw up the program of work and select club leaders to assist in organizing the clubs.  The club committee consisted of Mrs. Frank O’Meara, Holstein; Mrs. C. W. Nelson, Kiron; Mrs. Roy Lease, Chairman; Mrs. Charles Magnuson, Arthur: and Mrs. H.P. Wallace, Cushing.

Several new girls’ clubs were organized in 1924.  These included the Nimble Thimble Club of Galva township, the Griggs Go-Getters, the Sunshine Sisters of Maple, the Mothers’ Helpers of Garfield and the Corwin sisters.  Leaders were Mrs. G.R. Spurgeon, Galva; Miss Luella Schmidt, Griggs; Mrs. Joe Pinnekamp, Silver Creek; Mrs. H.L. Brownlee, Battle; Miss Margaret Hare, Maple; Mrs. A.R. Greenwood, Garfield; and Miss Amber Lloyd of Corwin.

A county 4-H committee was appointed in 1925, but only one member was active, G.W. Gailey.  At the beginning of the year the county agent held two meetings for boys and girls where he showed motion pictures and explained the baby beef club project.  Twenty eight boys and girls attended the meeting with their parents.  The following is a quote form the annual report of the county agent.  “Nearly all of the boys were willing to join, but in most cases, the parents would object and make excuses such as “We have nor place ot keep the clf “or” The boys have many other things to do.”

In 1926 there were 97 girls enrolled in 4-H.  Due to the shortage of leaders, three clubs were inactive.  Leaders of the girls’ clubs were Mrs. W. J Foard, of the Happy Hours, of Blaine; Miss Amber Lloyd of the Corwin Sister; Edna Bockwaldt and Edna Spurgeon of the Nimble Thimble Club of Galva; Mrs. Alvin Iversen and Mrs. Harlan Kerr of the Sunshine Sisters of Maple; and Dorothy Cobb of the Douglas Girls’ Club.  The boys’ leders that year were Lyle McKay of the Corwin boys, Edwin Hummell of the Douglas boys; and G.W. GAiley of the Maple boys club.  The Ida County fair was held in Holstein that year.  The Hayes township fair attracted over 3000 people.

At the 1927 Hayes township fair there were races, ball games and educational exhibits.  The girls’ 4-H clubs exhibited canning and had demonstration teams. The baby beef club in 1928 had nine members.  Five of the members showed at the county show and the Sioux City Stock Yards show.  The county champion brought $9.00 per cwt.  The boy who submitted the record for the champion reported a net profit of $124.00. The County 4-H Girls’ Achievement Day was held at the Ida Grove Armory.  Eleanor Coalter and Isabelle Bergman were awarded the highest scoring team in the bread judging contest, with Isabelle securing 2nd place in the individual placings. The claves at the 1929 4-H fair were stalled at the sales pavilion with county agent Pim of Onawa serving as judge.  The first palce in the Angus division was awarded to Clement Butcher, first place in the Hereford division went to Edward White, and first place in the Shorthorn division was awarded to Calvin Goodenow. A judging contest was conducted with the first prize awards going to Dwight Garner and Willis Butcher, with Clement Butcher and Vierl Johnson tying for second place.


In 1930 Clement Butcher was awarded a trip to the 4-H Club Congress in Chicago.  Leslie Babcock was awarded the Wilson Medal for having the most complete and best long-time record in the county. The 1931 livestock club leaders were L.E. Babcock, Karl Hoffman and Henry Witte. The girls’ leaders that year were Mrs. A.N. Grouell, Mrs. B.L. Butcher, Mrs. George Johnson, Mrs. L.B. Gove and Mrs. W.C. Forney, Jr. The 1933 judging team that went to state fair consisted of Arthur Thompson, Bill Simon, Arthur Bjorholm and Calvin Goodenow.  Their leader was Leslie Babcock. A dairy judging team consisting of Harlan Koch, Eldon Butcher, and Roy Witte with their leader, Clarence Witte, attended the Waterloo Dairy Congress and placed first in two Guernsey classes and each received a watch fob.

A pheasant project was started in 1933 with 15 boys enrolled.  This project was under the supervision of John Holst, deputy game warden from Denison.   The Isaac Walton League delivered the eggs and checked on the projects.  Eggs were received form the Iowa Fish and Game Department.  Each boy received 18 or 19 eggs the first week of June.  A total of 85 eggs hatched.  Six of the fifteen members had a total of 42 pheasants.  Two members exhibited pheasants at the County Achievement Show.  William Moller and Earl Goodenow received a first and second place.

The first 4-H Camp was held in 1936 at Lakewood.  Arthur Bjorholm, John Heilman and Jimmie Galvin attended from Ida County.  In that same year several boys from Ida County attended the Boys’ Short Course and Convention.  Those in attendance were Millard Hoyt, Junior “Red” Conover, Tom Conover, Eugene Reiff, and Gordon Johnson.

High honors were won for Ida County in 1939 at the Ak-Sar-Ben Show in Omaha.  George Hoffman, Jr. exhibited the Grand Champion steer, and Bob Johnson Exhibited the Reserved Champion steer.  The Grand Champion County Group of Five was also won by Ida County. That same year Margaret Hoffman showed the Grand Champion calf at the Sioux City Interstate Livestock Show and Sale, with George Hoffman, Jr. exhibiting the Reserve Champion.  In 1939 the Logan Stars club was organized.

The 1940 4-H Livestock judging team placed fifteenth at the Iowa State Fair.  Junior “Red” Conover placed as the ninth high individual.  That same year the Grant Gay Girls club was organized in October, with Mrs. Louie Kerr as leader.  Virginia Jensen reported on Fire Inspection and was chosen to represent the county in the State Contest.  The girls’ 4-H camp was held at Stone Park, Sioux City, with Sac, Woodbury, Monona, and Harrison Counties in attendance. 

Four delegates from Ida County attended the State 4-H Convention.  They were Sylvia Ehler, Ruth Hoffman, Norma Helkenn, and Frances Clapsaddle. In 1941 there were 64 boys and 13 girls enrolled in farm project clubs in the county. In 1942 Ida County 4-H’ers assisted with the war effort by selling defense stamps.  One way in which they sold the stamps was to sell them for admission to the annual 4-H Club Party. Phyllis Ehler (Mrs. Glenn Still) and Virginia Johnson (Mrs. Roland Jensen) of the Logan Stars demonstration team won a blue ribbon at the 4-H Achievement Show with a demonstration entitled, “U.S. Needs Us Strong”. The girls’ 4-H committee consisted of Mrs. Homer Corrie, Jrs. L.B. Gove, Mrs. John Irwin, Mrs. W.W. Krick, and Mrs. Austin Koch. The boys’ 4-H committee was made of Dwight Garner, Enoch Johnson, Calvin Goodenow and Ed Gosch.

In 1944 Phyllis Ehler (Mrs. Glenn Still) of the Logan Stars 4-H club was selected by the judging committee as having won the highest place because of her sale of $7,700 worth of war bonds.  She was crowned Ida County 4-H Bond Queen in front of the grandstand Thursday night, August 24.  Her two attendants, Barbara Bennett (Mrs. Robert Ruchensky) of Silver Creek Sunshine Sisters and Betty Johnson (Mrs. Bob Butcher) of the Logan Stars, who sold $7,000, $6,725 respectively, also received their awards. Robert Rohlk of Silver Creek Township, received the Purebred Poland China Gilt by receiving first place in the State 4-H Swine Producers Contest in 1945.  The Grant Gay Girls’ 4-H Club was honored at the 4-H club Awards Night for their sale of over $5,000 of war bonds during the year. Bob Johnson, of Logan Township won the Grand Champion honors at the 1946 County Fair.  Reserve Champion honors went to Alwayne Madsen of Silver Creek Township.  The Champion Purebred Heifer was exhibited by Howard Johnson of Hayes Township. Betty Johnson (Mrs. Bob Butcher) was awarded a trip to the National 4-H Club Congress which was held in Chicago in 1947. Howard Johnson took Grand Champion honors at the 1947 Ida County Fair with Wayne Conover of Holstein, taking the Reserve Champion honors. Clarence Schroeder, of Holstein walked off with the fat lamb honors and Howard Still of Ida Grove showed the Champion Barrow. Lois Segerstrom was selected as a delegate to the National 4-H Club Congress in 1948. The Silver Creekers boys’ 4-H club maintained a 4-H crop demonstration plot in Silver Creek Township.  Leaders of that club were David Bennett and Wayne Bennett. In 1949 the Blaine Elks 4-H club received an award from the Ida Grove Kiwanis Club for having the most complete set of record books.

In 1950 Delmar Eng, Richard Lindgren, and Wayne Steinbach were warded two days all expense paid at the Iowa State Fair.  This award was sponsored by Gordon Hinrichs of Ida Grove.  The awards were selected by the county 4-H committee from the swine project members on the basis of record books, participation in local club and county 4-H activities. Helen Kerr was elected State Girls’ 4-H President at Ames Convention in 1951. That same year Eldridge Drury exhibited the Champion Steer at the Ida County Fair which sold for $67.00 per cwt.  Willis Zabel of Battle Creek won three first places in the swine division at that year’s fair. Ramon Johnson was awarded a show halter for being the top 4-H cattle showman at the Ida County Fair. Ida County 4-H’ers had the opportunity to exhibit for the first time at the new fairgrounds in 1952 in Ida County. It was reported that 211 boys and girls were enrolled in the county 4-H clubs.  This was an all tie high for the county and an increase of over 71 from last year’s membership. In 1953 one hundred forty-six head of cattle averaged $26.00 per cwt. at the Ida County 4-H Livestock Sale. That same year Fred Erlemeier of Danbury, swept top honors in the individual swine entries with his pick which was judged Grand Champion. Also in 1953, Charles Horn, formerly of Ida Grove, was initiated as an honorary member at the State 4-H Convention.

Four Meritorious Service Awards were presented for Ida County people at the annual 4-H Awards Party held on January 14, 1954.  Those receiving the awards, which consisted of plaques, included Mrs. Alvin Schroeder of Griggs Township, member of the county girls’ 4-H committee; Mrs. Fred Buell, Jr., local club leader of the Logan Stars; Wayne Bennett of  Silver Creek Township, member of the boys’ 4-H committee, and Chester Burtonk local club leader of the Garfield All Stars.  Chester will complete in 1974 his twenty-sixth year as a club leader. That same year Clark Conover and Earl Heilman, Battle Badgers, received special recognition at the annual 4-H Awards Party in Ida Grove.  These boys were selected the State 4-H Soil and Water Conservation demonstration team winners. John Johnson, Harold Butcher, and Karen Vogt, were selected at the 1955 Ida County Fair to give demonstrations, at the Iowa State Fair.

In 1955 there were 364 market beef animals on feed in the county.  The Garfield All Stars 4-H Club led in the number of cattle on feed with 65 in the individual events. Everett Collin, of Silver Creek Township, was selected along with 3 other boys to represent Iowa 4-H clubs at Camp Miwanka near Shelby, Michigan August 13-26, 1956. David Volkert, of the Douglas Doers 4-H Club, entered four lambs in the Ida County Fair competition and wound up with Grand Champion Pen of Three, Grand Champion Lamb and Reserve Champion Lamb. In 1955 Johnny Krenk, Ida Grove, a member of the Logan Hot Shots 4-H Club, maintained first place in the judging work-outs by compiling a total of 724 points out of a possible 750.  

The top eight boys that will compete in the county area are Johnny Krenk, Freddie Krenk, Ben Nielsen, Kyle Buchanan, Gerald Krenk, Chuck Putensen, Gary Putensen, and Loren Bergman. In 1958 the Ida County 4-H boys elected John Johnson of the Battle Badgers 4-H club, their new president at a meeting held in the Ida Grove Sales Pavilion. Other officers elected were Dick Cranston, Hayes Haymakers, vice-president; Bruce Schmidt, Griggs Tigers, secretary-treasurer; and Curtis Rupert, Logan Hot Shots, historian and reporter.

During 1958 Mrs. Ray Bumann and Mrs. Leonard Rupert were initiated as Honorary Girls’ 4-H members. George Hoffman, III, exhibited the Grand Champion Market Steer at the Ida County Fair in 1959. Arnold Else, Jr. of Holstein, was selected as the Champion Swine Showman at the 1959 Ida County Fair. Franklin Huth and David Volkert, from the Douglas Doers 4-H Club, represented Ida County with a demonstration team at the 1959 Iowa State Fair.

From 1960 to the present, Ida County 4-H has continued to be a strong program.  Ida County 4-H members have had the opportunity to participate in exchange trips, 4-H camps, state 4-H conference, Washington D.C. citizenship focus, and various county-wide projects as well as participating in their own local 4-H club activities.

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