“I have a lot of stuff that I do,” the 12 year old humbly said.
“A lot of the art that I entered I did at school, and I do like making art, but animals are really important to me as well.”
Mariah has been involved with 4-H for four years, and she started showing at the county fair three years ago. Three years is also the amount of time she has been in Troop 1515 in Turlock, whom she competed in Floriculture with at the 2013 fair. (Mariah lives in Patterson, but attends school at Turlock Christian.)
Out the categories in which she competes, Mariah’s enjoys working with horses the most. Her aptly-named horse Triumph placed twelve times across three different categories. Triumph’s performance in 4-H earned Mariah her second trip to the California 4-H Horse Classic in Elk Grove, where they again placed high, earning third in English Showmanship, among others.
“Horses are one of my passions,” Mariah said. “That’s probably my favorite project. But I also really enjoy cake decorating and cavies.”
This year was big for Mariah in the cavy group. She began showing in the cavy group last year, and has since used her two starter animals as a jumping off point for breeding. Mariah showed five cavies at the 2014 county fair, and her guinea pig Bronze won Best of Show.
“That’s the only project I do breeding in,” said Mariah when asked about her experiences with breeding animals. “That’s the only project that I do that’s actually based on the conformity of the animal and how good your animal is.”
In the cake decorating category, Mariah won Best of Show at the beginner level for her cake designed to look like a basket of flowers, complete with handle and weave. She also took in first place in the zucchini sub-category of horticulture, grades six through eight, for her six-plus pound vegetable.
When asked if she sees herself creating artwork and raising animals the rest of her life, Mariah simply said, “Yeah, probably.”
Nathan Duckworth can be reached at 209-892 6187 ext. 24 or firstname.lastname@example.org.