A humble man, Delmer Zinnel says he just did it because he loves kids.
Following a pretty successful 4-H career which included winning top honors in livestock judging at the Iowa State Fair in 1948, and being selected to attend National 4-H Congress in Chicago, Delmer went on to serve his country during the Korean War. When he returned, he did what came natural to him, he farmed. While farming and raising a family, Delmer shared his knowledge on raising cattle and refinishing wood with young 4-H members in the community.
When his two children became old enough to join 4-H, Delmer stepped up and volunteered to be a 4-H leader, for 10 years. During that time Delmer remembers holding several livestock fitting workshops at his farm. He knew that to have a winner in the arena, the process started when selecting an animal. Therefore, he taught kids how to select an animal, how to feed and care for it properly, how to groom it, how to show it, and what a judge was looking for. Besides being a club leader and conducting workshops, Delmer also judged several livestock shows.
He knew his cattle well. One time he was sitting in a movie and leaned over and told his wife, “I don’t know who that actor is, but the animal in the picture behind him is Tomahawk”. He had recognized the animal which had won several purebred shows.
Although he had a strong background in cattle, Delmer encouraged the youth to take advantage of all opportunities 4-H had to offer and encouraged them to also exhibit static exhibits and participate in communications events. One presentation he recalls advanced to the Iowa State Fair had two youth demonstrating the proper way to cross fences while hunting and carrying a gun. During the presentation, another youth off stage popped a balloon with a pin, which really got everyone’s attention. Delmer has many more fond memories of 4-H as both a youth and an adult.
Delmer wants kids to know there are people who support them and want to see them succeed and he is one of them. The message he would like all kids to remember is, “Keep a good attitude and keep everything in perspective because this is not the end, rather it is just the beginning”