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They did it again. While many young people were getting back into the routine of school to begin the learning process again, a group of Butler County 4-Hers was off to Grand Island to show their knowledge gained before and during the summer.

The local 4-Hers came back bearing the fruits of their hours of study and practice.

Among them: Winning the state 4-H tree identification team championship in intermediate division, ages 10 to 13 for the ninth consecutive year at the 2017 Nebraska State Fair, and repeating as the horticulture contest champions.

The senior teams ages 14 to 18 continued to add to their championship streaks as well, winning both the tree identification and the weeds and grass identification contests for the seventh consecutive year.

The 2017 Butler County tree identification team consisted of gold medalist Jonathan Duke of David City, silver medalist Timothy Duke, and Simon Kelly of Octavia who placed seventh.

The 2017 team scored 101 points, just a single point short of tying the intermediate team record score of 102 set by the Butler County team of Isaac Archuleta, Zeb Barta and Erin Barta in 2013.

Macy Moravec of David City placed fourth, leading a Butler-Colfax intermediate team to third place in team competition. Joining her on the team were Quintessa Moravec of David City and Ella Kappel of Colfax County. The Adams County team placed second.

Timothy and Jonathan tied for the top score in the 40 specimen contest with the tie broken by tie-breaker questions. This was only the second time for this contest that members of the same family had tied for the top score, with the previous incidence of this occurring in 1965 with Steven and David Paschold from Lancaster County.

The Duke brothers actually did the Paschold brothers one better in 2017, as senior division gold medalist Matthew Duke also had the same score as Timothy and Jonathan, marking the first time that three members of the same family tied for top overall score in the tree identification contest.

Matthew led the Butler County senior division 4-Hers (14-18) to several achievements. One was the seventh consecutive tree identification team championship for Butler County, breaking Douglas County’s six year streak from 1986-1991. Joining Matthew on the team were silver medalist Zeb Barta of Brainard, bronze medalist Erin Barta of Brainard and Isaac Archuleta of Brainard.

Butler County 4-Hers dominated the senior division individual placings, with 7 individuals among the top 10 and sweeping the top 5 individual placings, the latter not known to have ever been previously been accomplished in this contest.

These individuals were Zeb Barta, Erin Barta, Paige McKenzie of Rising City (fourth) and Garrett McKenzie of Rising City (fifth). Isaac had the same score as Erik Henry, sixth place finisher of Omaha, but ended in seventh on the tie-breaker. Wyatt Moravec of David City placed ninth.

The Butler-Saunders senior team of Garrett McKenzie, Paige McKenzie, Ethan McKenzie and Saunders County 4-Her Anthony Strizek of Valparaiso placed second, and the Colfax-Butler team of Wyatt Moravec and Colfax County 4-Hers Korbin and Kara Kudera and Sawyer Kappel placed third.


Silver medalist Simon Kelly led the Butler-Saunders County intermediate team in repeating as state champion team intermediate division. Simon was joined by teammates Jonathan Duke (fifth), Miranda Strizek of Valparaiso (sixth) and Timothy Duke. Bronze medalist Macy Moravec led the fourth place Butler-Colfax team. The gold medalist was Jeffrey Lohse of Beatrice.

Three senior division Butler County 4-Hers placed in the top 10 with these individuals being Wyatt Moravec (sixth), Paige McKenzie (seventh) and Matthew Duke (eighth). The senior division contest consisted of identifying 100 horticultural specimens, two sets of judging, and a 50 question test.

Wyatt was a member of the championship team from Colfax-Butler, and he qualified to represent Nebraska at the upcoming National 4-H Horticulture Contest in Indiana. The Butler County team of Paige, Matthew, and Garrett and Ethan McKenzie placed third. Erik Henry of Omaha was the 2017 individual champion.

Weed and Grass Identification

Silver medalist Paige McKenzie led the Butler County senior team to their seventh consecutive team championship in the weeds and grass identification which consisted of identifying 65 specimens. Joining Paige on the championship team were Garrett McKenzie (fourth), Matthew Duke (sixth) and Ethan McKenzie (eighth).

Wyatt Moravec ninth place finish helped the Butler No. 2 team earn fifth place in senior team competition. Riley Hlavac of Garrison and Carson Rathje of Rising City joined Wyatt on this team.

Jonathan Duke was the bronze medalist in the intermediate division, helping the Butler County team to earn third. Jonathan was joined by Macy Moravec, Simon Kelly and Timothy Duke. Quin Moravec was a member of the fifth place Colfax-Butler team.


Insect Identification

Two medals were earned by Butler Count 4-Hers, with five of the top 10 individuals in the intermediate division at the 2017 state 4-H insect identification contest. Six senior division youth also scored high enough to earn a top 10 placing. There was no team competition in this contest.

In the intermediate Macy Moravec was the silver medalist, being joined by Jonathan Duke (fourth), Simon Kelly (seventh), Quin Moravec (ninth), and Timothy Duke (10th) for individual recognition. Luke Palmer of Kearney repeated as gold medalist.

Bronze medalist Paige McKenzie led the Butler County senior 4-H contingent. She was joined by Garrett McKenzie (fourth), Matthew Duke (sixth), Wyatt Moravec (seventh), Ethan McKenzie (eighth) and Riley Hlavac (ninth) in the top 10. Rachel Abbott of North Platte repeated as gold medalist in 2017, with Erik Henry of Omaha placing second.

-- Submitted by Michael D. Rethwisch, UNL Extension Educator.


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