Iowa 4-H Foundation

Posted on August 21, 2023 at 1:18 PM by Emily Saveraid

Hardin COuntyDave and Annette Sweeney have been Hardin Country Fair participants each of their 37 years of marriage. However, Annette’s fair experiences began in her early childhood. Her earliest memories include cooking, sewing, and canning entries in the “girl’s” divisions that were at one time a prerequisite to showing livestock with the boys. Annette’s father was an early adopter of the continental cattle influence and many of her 4-H counterparts in attendance will remember the Charolais steers and heifers that she and her sister showed. That would include the one that escaped the fairgrounds, jumping a cliff and crossing the Iowa River, not found until the next fall, alive. Annette’s fair endeavors included the dog show, style review, a nail driving championship and husband calling contest (well before her eventual marriage to Dave).

Dave and Annette were married in 1985 and immediately began participation in the fair back when the Saturday junior show was complimented with an open class division where they exhibited Charolais and Angus breeding cattle produced on their farm. In fact, before the bucket bottle calf show existed their sons showed open class at the wee age of four years old. A seed was planted in young Jim & Joe and led to long careers of showing market and breeding cattle, horses, sheep, swine, dogs, rabbits, chickens, photography, and other static projects.

Volunteerism has been a cornerstone of the Sweeney’s married life, especially regarding agriculture related activities. Dave and Annette served as 4-H club leaders for Concord Sherman Challengers for 5 years. Annette is a former member of the Hardin County Extension Council and Dave was a Co-Superintendent of the Fair Cattle department for nearly a decade. Either Dave or Annette individually served the Hardin County Cattlemen’s organization for a total of 25 years. Similarly, they have each spent years on the Hardin County Farm Bureau board which has generously contributed to fair infrastructure and the annual ribbon auction. The Sweeneys have sponsored the coveted Senior Horsemanship trophy buckle for many years. Annette has remained passionate about 4-H programs by fervent debating for ISU Extension Service in years past, even reciting the 4-H Pledge during discussion on the Iowa House Floor.

Passion for 4-H is continues as their family grows. Their daughter-in-law, Rachel, comes with deep roots in 4-H. With one grandson on the ground, another grandchild on the way and the hope of more to come, the Sweeney family is committed to continuing a heritage of community pride, friendly competition, agriculture education, and summer fun for many years to come.

Categories: 2023, Hardin

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