Country Ham 2018

Above are members of the 4-H Country Ham Curing group at the Kentucky State Fair.

2019 Country Ham Contract



Fifty Muhlenberg County 4-H’ers ventured to the Kentucky State Fair in August competing in events including the Country Ham Project, Poultry Judging, Livestock Showing, and Cloverville. 

                The Kentucky 4-H Country Ham program is a program that helps youth to develop applicable real world skills in two ways.  First, youth learn about the process, history, and science of curing hams.  This process briefly covers issues such as food safety, meat production, basic chemistry principles, and food preservation.  After the actual process of curing their hams (each youth receives two hams) with a local expert on the process, the youth select their best ham and exhibit it at the country ham contest at the state fair.  At this contest they are asked to give a speech and answer questions pertaining to the process of curing hams and their experience.  This and the quality of the ham both help to determine a winner in the various age categories.  This year’s program was taught by Charlie and Lori Gatton, owners of Fathers Country Ham of Bremen. Our 4-H’ers excelled in the contest bringing home multiple blue ribbons and honors in the contest where over 730 hams were entered.  Results are as follows: In the 2002 age division, Lexie Miller placed 3rd with her speech.  In the 2004 age division, Christian Heltsley placed 1st with his ham, 2nd with his speech, and received the overall smoked ham title in his division.  In the 2005 age division, Kaitlyn Boggess placed 1st with her ham and received the grand champion title over all 1999-2008 age division participants for her ham, that’s over 730 hams.  In the 2006 age division Mason Lovell placed 1st with his speech, 2nd with his ham, he was the 2006 age division champion, and received the junior reserve champion title over all 2002-2008 participants. In the 2007 age division, Regin Stovall placed 2nd with her ham.

                Judging is a tool used to develop 4-H club members. Participating in judging and other competitive events helps 4-H'ers learn to make and defend decisions and to speak in public. Poultry judging provides an excellent opportunity for 4-H'ers to learn about live chickens and the basis for grading and evaluating poultry products.  4-H Poultry Club members Timmy Dorris, Chandler Phelps, Megan Blake, and Chloe Rickard competed against 70 other 4-H’ers in the poultry judging contest.  Chandley Phelps received a blue ribbon.  Timmy Dorris received a red ribbon.  Megan Blake received a blue ribbon and placed 14th in the senior division.  Chloe Rickard received a blue ribbon, 2nd place in the junior division, overall champion of the junior division, and received a plaque. 

                The State 4-H Livestock Judging Contest represents the culmination of the livestock judging season for local 4-H livestock judging clubs.  Each year, approximately 300 youth from over 35 counties across the state compete in this event. CloverBuds Andy Benton, and Audrey Benton competed in the Livestock show exhibiting their hogs.  Andy Benton placed 1st in the novice class.  Ella Benton and Audrey Benton each received a participation ribbon. 

                Ten Youth entered items they had created in the exhibit hall of Cloverville.  Numerous blue and red ribbons were awarded. 

                Muhlenberg County was well represented at the 2016 Kentucky State Fair.  The Muhlenberg County UK Extension Office is very proud of our 4-H’ers who participated and would like to congratulate them on all of their achievements.