A group of local 4-H’ers enjoyed putting their knowledge of horses to the test during a regional competition.
The Sampson County Horse Bowl Team received a high ranking in the 2018 Southeast District 4-H Horse Bowl Contest at the University of Mount Olive. They placed third overall in the mixed division, which includes members who are 9 to 18 years of age.
During the competition in Mount Olive, team members E’Vanna Hall and Kaya Kusmierczuk tied for fourth in a portion of a contest for individuals. Other team members include Peyton Matthis, Haley Matthis, Savannah Watson, and Carson Wicke-Bass.
Megan Merritt, team coach, helped the team through the process. Preparation for the competition began in October with study sessions and practice. They competed against several teams and answered questions from proctors in a Jeopardy-like game. Team members buzz in to collect points. If their answer is wrong, points are taken away. Some of the questions involved biology, skeletal and digestive system.
“It’s a pretty cool thing,” Merritt said. “All of the kids that do Horse Bowl are either in 4-H, love animal or have an interest in horses. They really get competitive and have a lot of fun with it.”
Merritt competed for a long time, until she aged out.Now, she enjoys watching the enthusiasm and curiosity of the youths when it comes to horses.
She’s been involved with horses at 8 and enjoyed learning a lot about them.
“With horses, there’s endless possibilities of learning how to be patient and how to work with such a big animal,” Merritt said.
The 19-year-old and former team captain is currently attending Sampson Early College High School. After finishing, Merritt will graduate will have an associate’s degree in science and arts, along with her diploma. She plans to attend the University of Mount Olive or North Carolina State University to study animal science.
Genny Thompson, 4-H agent, also applauded the work of the students.
“I think they did a phenomenal job,” Thompson said. “They studied really hard and put a lot of effort into studying and learning as much as they could.”
The competition and team is one of several programs available for 4-H’ers and youths through the Sampson County Center of North Carolina Cooperative Extension. Four-H leaders are hosting a Creative Cooking class, a council for teens, talent show and the annual Achievement Night at the Expo Center.
Thompson is also looking forward to seeing greater things from the bowl team. She hopes that the team will have the opportunity to attend another competition, at a higher level.
“They did a great job and we’re really proud of them in all that they achieved,” Thompson said.
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.