County fairs and 4-H: They go together like hot dogs and mustard, Ferris wheels and twinkle lights, oversized prizes and new romance.

As a longtime supporter of local 4-H programs around Minnesota and southeastern South Dakota, fair season is our favorite time of year at Minnwest Bank. This year, we’re bringing you a behind-the-scenes peek at one of the most productive 4-H duos you’ll ever meet.

Together, Egypt Forrest, 18, and Fox Forrest, 16, of Luverne submit around 100 entries to the Rock County Fair for 4-H. The blue and purple premiums they’ve won over the years could fill multiple bins, and they’ve lost count of the number of projects that advanced to the Minnesota State Fair.

When we caught up with them in mid-July, they were taking a break from the rush of readying remaining projects for the 2023 Rock County Fair. They shared some of their top takeaways and tips for anyone who's looking to boost their 4-H entries next summer.


1. Plan and prioritize

What’s the secret to their impressive productivity?

“Well, we procrastinate, and we do everything the week before,” Egypt says.

But their mother, Katie Walgrave, was right there to fact check.

Actually, many projects have been in progress for several weeks, she said. They planted vegetables, raised chickens and rabbits, prepared foods and finished sewing. For certain categories, judging takes place two weeks before the fair.

But that does leave the week before the fair, where, yes, Fox and Egypt will be keeping busy to wrap up everything else they plan to enter.

To keep everyone organized and on top of the many categories, projects and deadlines, Katie set up and maintains a spreadsheet, so no due date is missed, and no major detail falls through the cracks.

2. Leverage other projects

If you’re looking to bump up your 4-H entries next year, you don’t have to start every single project from scratch.

Egypt and Fox also enter school projects and hobby projects, including art, creative writing and music.

If they find a dual fit as a 4-H project, it qualifies, just as long as it’s completed within the last year.

3. Be competitive (but keep it 4-H friendly)  

Between the siblings, Egypt has been averaging around 40 4-H entries for the county fair while Fox cranks his output to 60.

“I'm extremely competitive,” Fox says. The idea of beating his sister “really motivates me to get a lot of things done.”

At the same time, winning isn’t everything. This 4-H community is supportive of all its members. It's a place where you’ll find parents and 4-H'ers ready to help others, even if it’s right before a competition.  

“Even though you’re competing directly with these people, they want to make you be successful,” Katie says. “It’s a competition, but a very friendly competition.”

Mirroring Fox’s project rivalry with his sister, Egypt has what she calls a “pretend rivalry” with one of the other 4-H'ers for the fashion revue. But it’s not serious, she adds.

“It’s just for fun,” she says.  

4. Don’t be afraid to be a beginner

In 2022, Egypt jumped into the rabbit competition, despite knowing absolutely nothing about showing rabbits.

A neighbor let her borrow from a brood being raised for meat. Egypt picked what she thought was a nice-looking bunny and entered the arena.  

No, she didn’t surprise everyone by taking first in showmanship. In fact, it quickly became clear to her that she didn’t know what physical traits to look for in a show rabbit.  

But it was, nonetheless, a great experience. She paid attention to the other competitors, and that gave her a start to prepare for this year’s competition.

Fittingly, she raised gray Silverfox Rabbits for this year’s 4-H competition.

“I have a little help from one of our neighbors who shows rabbits, and she showed me something that she uses to help her remember facts about them,” she says.


5. Find your specialty 

Both Egypt and Fox have embraced a "just go for it" mindset when it comes to generating 4-H entries, which has expanded their experiences and boosted their confidence. But they have also discovered and cultivated their niches. 

For Egypt, her core events are the 4-H Fashion Revue, where competitors model their fashion creations and clothing construction.

“Almost every year since fifth grade, I got Grand Champion in Fashion Revue,” she says. “I think everyone’s going to be pretty glad when I’m gone!”

Fox raises and showcases his chickens, always on the lookout for breeds that sport unique colors and plumage that might be new to the fairgoers. 

“I like to bring interesting and very unusual breeds of chickens to the fair,” Fox says.

At Minnwest Bank, we applaud all the 4-H'ers who entered projects in their county fair. Congratulations on your hard work! 





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