4-H members know that the best time of the year is fair time! The Skagit County Fair acts as the pinnacle for these hard-working youth, who have spent the year getting their projects ready to show them off for the judges and the public. For Mia Carlton, 2023 marks her last Skagit County Fair as a 4-H member and she plans on enjoying every minute of it.

Mia has been in 4-H for 11 years, a member of the Valley Green Acres 4-H Club. Her project, and passion, has always been horses. “For the past eight years I worked with my paint horse Kiwi, however this year, I am showing my leader’s horse Kennicke,” Mia shares.

Mia Carlton standing next to her brown and white horse with a bridle on his head
Mia Carlton competed in 4-H for 8 years with her horse, a pinto named Kiwi. Photo credit: Kevin Carlton

Throughout her time in 4-H, Mia learned valuable life lessons while serving as club president for two years, as well as treasurer, vice president and reporter in other years. These lessons have helped her immensely as she pursues higher education at Arizona State University, studying accounting and working towards a commercial air pilot license. “4-H has taught me countless tangible and intangible things,” Mia shares. “To start with, the basis of 4-H’s motto, ‘to make the best better,’ has taught me always to strive to be better. Working with animals also taught me that your ‘best’ for the day is not always the same, you do what you can. 4-H has also taught me about being a leader, both in encouraging young/new members and coordinating with my leaders and the club as a whole. Additionally, 4-H has given me so many tangible skills that I can use in the business world, like record keeping, public speaking, time management and a good work ethic.”

Entering The Skagit County Fair One Last Time

Mia competing at the 2019 Skagit County Fair with her horse Kiwi. Photo credit: Kevin Carlton

“My favorite memory from the fair is from the last fair,” Shares Mia when asked. “It was the awards night on Saturday and the last fair I rode with my heart horse Kiwi of eight competition years. They called my name for the fastest key race run over all the age groups. I had never gotten a speed medal before and it was the happiest and most accomplished I felt after 12 years of both my sibling and I training and working with Kiwi.”

At the 2023 Skagit County Fair, Mia has also entered photography, art, sewing, cooking and baking, aside from horses. With all those projects, you know she is busy. “The biggest part of my preparation for the fair is washing my horse and collecting all the tack, food, and clothing for showing my horse,” she says. “Other than that, my preparation involves getting my various different entries ready, framing my art, printing my photography and finishing sewing projects.”

Mia standing next to a palomino horse, with both her hands on his leather halter
At the 2023 Skagit County Fair, Mia will compete on her 4-H leader’s horse, a palomino named Kennicke. Photo credit: Kevin Carlton

But regardless of the work she puts in, Mia – like all 4-Hers – is excited about the upcoming Fair. “I most look forward to the fun classes that the horse project puts on the Saturday of the fair, specifically costume class, she says. I love making elaborate costumes, last year I made mechanical 10-foot-long wings for my horse that could open and close.”

Mia adds that having so many projects can make it feel like there is never enough time. “I want to look at the fair and my other entries, while also competing in the animal projects,” she explains. “However, even if I don’t see the whole fair, I much rather enjoy the time with my projects and club members.”

Head to the 2023 Skagit County Fair to meet Mia and other hard-working 4-Hers. To learn more about joining Skagit County 4-H, visit the WSU Extension website.

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