For Lexy Wilson, being in 4H is more like a family tradition.
“My mom was involved in 4H before me or my brother was even born,” Wilson said.
As a result, Lexy has grown up inside 4H. She officially joined 4H at 7, the minimum age.
For the past two years, Lexy has been working on a BBQ sauce that she hopes to eventually market and sell.
She said the basic ingredients to all BBQ sauces are the same, but how it is spiced can be changed. She likes sweet BBQ sauce more than hot BBQ sauce.
Last year she was awarded reserve champion for her BBQ sauce, and decided to take it to state. But it was not judged because she didn’t know the sauce needed to be pH tested for food safety.
So, she spent the past year working with professors and researchers at Kansas State University in the food production department to make her sauce safe to can and preserve. She said this year’s sauce will pass the pH test, and she hopes to take it to state again.
In addition to making BBQ sauce all summer, Lexy raised two pigs, Si and Sadie, to enter into the fair. She said she named them after “Duck Dynasty” characters, and the pigs have lived up to their name’s sake. Si, a Duroc, is one crazy pig. Sadie, a cross-breed, is the tiniest.
Lexy said she likes raising Durocs, which are red pigs, but when her family went to the auction to buy the feeder pigs to raise, only one Duroc caught her eye.
Lexy also entered the 4H fashion show. She said 4H’ers can make a set of clothes, make a set of wool clothes or buy a set of clothes. She doesn’t have the patience to sew, so she always buys her clothes for the show. At 15 years old, Lexy said this was her first year in the senior division. Although most first-years don’t typically place, Lexy took home second alternate, which is the equivalent of 4th place.
She has also found time to build a woodworking project and bake a cake. She has almost finished building a dresser before Thursday, when all the 4H projects have to be done and moved to the fair. She said she is making a chocolate cake for the fair, but the trick to baking a prize-winning cake is more about texture than taste.
Lexy said she would have entered more things, but this year she got to travel to Washington D.C. with 4H. Between the trip and summer camp, she didn’t really have the time to work on more projects.
Lexy said she has known for some time what she wants to do when she grows up.
She said she wants to attend K-State and major in food science with a minor in grain science. From there, she wants to open a restaurant where she makes her own malt liquor and her own BBQ sauce. Although her family is here in Manhattan, she said she wants to move further south, but thinks she will have to be closer to home if she ever gets married and has kids.