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live a few miles from Hayes Center, Nebraska, a small town of about 240 people. One of the many perks of living in a rural setting is getting to attend a rural school. Most kids that attend my school live in a situation very similar to mine. It is not uncommon for someone to say that they had to go pull a calf to justify being late to FFA practice in the morning before school. I stay busy by being involved in 4-H and FFA. I am also serving as the 2016 Elwood Rodeo Queen, and am still performing my duties until I pass down the crown this August. My experiences in these programs and activities have sparked my passion for agriculture and the agricultural industries. Whether it be at a rodeo, horse show, FFA contest, or stock show, I always end up making connections with someone who shares many of the same interests and passions that I do. It is a gratifying feeling to know that these people REBEL SJEKLOCHA, NEBRASKA, AGE 16 I meet will be the innovators and leaders in the future of agriculture. 4-H Living in Hayes County is a blessing, but even more so because of our outstanding 4-H program. The Hayes County Fair is the highlight of almost every Hayes County resident’s year, and is anxiously awaited from the time the last animal is sold at the sale. Hayes County has approximately a little over 800 residents total, yet we produce one of the largest cattle shows in the state. This is no accident. It is an unspoken rule that every youth in Hayes County must show at the county fair. It frankly does not matter if they live in town, some community member will step up and save them a couple calves to show. This is because the community has recognized the value of the hard work and preparation it takes to get a calf ready to show. I fi rmly believe that many of the great leaders of tomorrow are being molded by local 4-H programs across the country. I am honored to be a 4-H member, and in particular a member of the Hayes County 4-H program. I am ever so grateful for my time in 4-H, as it has shown me the true meaning of hard work and dedication. FFA There is something to be said about the feeling of putting on the offi cial dress of the National FFA Organization. I can’t put my fi nger on it, but there has to be something magical in those blue corduroy jackets. Every time I zip mine up it is as if a wave of confi - dence overtakes me and I feel like I can accomplish anything I set my mind to. FFA, or Future Farmers of America, promotes the agricultural industries by providing real-life, BELOW LEFT: Feeding the prospect 4-H calves. BELOW RIGHT: Rebel is proud to call rural Nebraska her home! This young cattlewoman couldn’t be more thankful for her country raisin’ JETT SJEKLOCHA, AGE 13 JETT SJEKLOCHA, AGE 13 R u ra l R ewa r d s 8 I WORKING RANCH JUNIOR I SUMMER 2017


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