MORAN — Early attempts at success occasionally go awry.
The Heim sisters — Allison, 15, Mallory, 12, and Sophia, 9 — each have learned such lessons in their preparations for the Allen County Fair.
Allison, for example, once saw her rocket malfunction in mid-flight, and come crashing down from a height of nearly 1,700 feet — through her roof.
Mallory’s wasn’t quite as destructive, but she’s had to rework paintings at the last minute to suit her tastes.
As for young Sophia, well, the chicken she entered in the 2016 poultry contest often reacted viciously when being handled for judging.
“Belle didn’t like me much,” Sophia said of fowl-tempered chicken.
But as the adage says, there’s no such thing as failure; rather it’s an early attempt at success. It’s a lesson the Heims have taken to heart.
Each is entering a plethora of projects for the 2017 Fair, which kicks off next week.
Allison, entering her sophomore year at Marmaton Valley High School, is once again entering a rocket, as well as a food gift basket and plant science project from her garden.
Mallory, entering seventh grade at Marmaton Valley Junior High, is entering food, poultry and visual arts and crafts.
Sophia, gearing up for fourth grade at Marmaton Valley Elementary, will submit poultry, sewing, food basket and rocketry entries.
Each of the Prairie Rose 4-H members spoke briefly about their efforts to gear up for Fair Week.
ALLISON, in her seventh year as a 4-H’er, is entering plant science for the first time.
She hopes to enter lavender she grows in her backyard, as well as some traditional garden item, such as peppers, “and maybe onions,” she said.
The gardening projects were inspired by Allison’s recent work with the Marmaton Valley FFA chapter.
“We’re making a community garden in Moran, and I thought it’d be neat to show stuff from my garden,” she said.
Her affinity for rocketry came from when she first began submitting fair entries seven years ago.
“I thought the rockets always looked pretty cool,” she said, “but I knew nothing about them.”
She pored through books about model rockets and assembled her first one a short while later.
“I had a lot of fun with it.”
Her efforts paid off handsomely in 2016, when she earned a grand champion ribbon at the fair.
As part of the rocket-making process, 4-H’ers must document their steps in assembling their projectiles, including the launch — even the failures, such as the crash landing.
“I had to do quite a few repairs, super-glue some stuff and go again,” she said.
This year’s rocket is almost certainly going to be among the most unique.
Dubbed “Eggs-calibur,” the rocket is outfitted with a small capsule to hold an egg.
Will the egg survive a launch?
“I guess we’ll soon find out,” she said with a laugh.
Allison’s food basket effort also is near and dear to her heart.
All of the basket items — food items, small articles of clothing and hygiene products — will be donated afterward to Hope Unlimited.
“I like to do things like that to show what it’s about through the gift basket,” she said. “I’m still experimenting with how it looks.”
The fair is always a highlight of her summer, Allison said.
“I like the teamwork involved with 4-H,” she said. “I like the competition, and how you get to see so many cool ideas, and all the different perspectives people bring.”
MALLORY, TOO, enjoys the camaraderie involved with working on her fair projects.
For example, she’ll rely on her mother’s expertise when preparing her food entry, a chocolate chip cookie dessert she tasted while on a family vacation to Kentucky.
“My mom makes really good chocolate chip cookies, so I’ll ask her about recipes,” she said.
Her art work, meanwhile, varies from still-life pictures — she painted a picture of her rooster, Cocoa, one year — to the more abstract.
“I think I’m going with abstract this year,” she said. “I’ll do some freestyle painting, whenever Mom says I have to work on it.”
And while Mallory has earned high marks for her previous art projects, she is self-effacing when asked to rate her artistic talent. “It’s debatable,” she said modestly.
Mallory also will enter two poultry exhibits, the aforementioned Cocoa, and a hen named Pine. She hopes to reclaim her early glory in that category.
She had the grand champion poultry entry her first year at the fair.
“I’ve gotten a lot of blues since then,” she added.
It’s in the livestock barn that she often feels most comfortable when Fair Week rolls around.
“I like being able to show my animals,” she said. “I like being to able to see what I get.”
This year is Mallory’s sixth as a 4-H’er.
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