Emily Smith's emerald green boots clipped down the modeling runway Sunday afternoon at the Lawrence Holidome. Her red hair flowed over an emerald green western jacket, setting off her cream cowboy hat, matching riding pants and gloves.
All eyes were riveted on the 17-year-old Cottonwood 4-H member as she smiled and turned on the ballroom's catwalk, and picked up the gold medal for the Douglas County 4-H Fashion Revue's senior clothing carousel contest on a day that happened to be her birthday.
"We have three different segments," said Trudy Rice, program assistant in home economics at the Douglas County Extension Service. "Clothing carousel and grooming are buymanship where they went out and purchased the outfit. Then there's construction, where they actually made the outfits."
KRYSTALE NUNEMAKER, 10, who spent three days sewing a purple and white polka dot split-skirt jumper with her grandmother, Pauline Nunemaker, fidgeted in a hall as she waited for Jill Morgison, public style revue superintendent, to signal her to go on stage.
"I picked out the fabric," Krystale said, her blue eyes peering through lavender-rimmed glasses. "I liked it because it matched my glasses."
Senior grooming runner-up Jason Jones, 17, said he considered his outfit's appearance, usefulness and value when he bought the navy blue suit, blue-and-white pinstripe oxford shirt, and paisley tie he chose to model.
Jones said he bought the suit on sale and wore it last June as Perry-Lecompton's delegate to Boys' State.
"The project teaches you how to manage money and budget shop and have confidence it what you wear," Jones said. "The whole process helps you build self-esteem."
RICE SAID the goal of the 4-H program is to teach children life skills. Working with food, clothing and livestock, the three main focuses of 4-H, were necessary skills for children when the club first formed 90 years ago, Rice said.
"The clothing project is one of the oldest 4-H projects," Rice said. "This (fashion revue) may not have been going on since the very first fair, but it's been there at least 50 years."
Rice estimated that more than 100 4-H members, ages 7 to 18, from 16 Douglas County clubs, participated in the clothing judging last week as well as Sunday's fashion revue. Twenty-one senior and intermediate entries took turns narrating the revue.
"Everyone who participated last week at the judging was able to participate today," Rice said. "They all know whether they got a blue ribbon, or a red or white, but the champions announced today were a surprise."
Winners in the modeling category, in which they modeled clothing they made themselves, included Angela Ramirez, junior; Amy Lilyhorn, intermediate; and Steph McDaniels, senior.
Grooming winners, boys enrolled in the clothes strategy buymanship project, were Tyler Trowbridge, junior; Bo Wempe, intermediate; and Kenny Kalb, senior.
In clothing carousel, winners were Chelsea Wilson, junior; Brandee Rice, intermediate; and Smith, senior.
Smith and the other gold medal winners will represent Douglas County at the Kansas State Fair in September in Hutchinson.