For the Hopkinses, fair is family time
For the Hopkins family, participating in this week's Leavenworth County Fair is more than just winning ribbons and awards.
For Danielle, Chance, Zach and their mother, Carmen, the opportunity to spend high-quality family time together working on projects means so much more.
One of the activities that has brought them together the most is the 4-H geology state field trip. This year, Chance, 12, and Zach, 8, are both entering projects into the geology competition at the fair.
The family started going on the trip when Danielle, 17, first got involved in 4-H. Although Danielle will not be participating in the fair this year, because of her busy schedule with other activities, she has led the way for her younger brothers.
Keeping the tradition alive, the two boys and their mother recently traveled to Scott City for the two-day rock-finding excursion. They camped out with more than 300 other people from all over the state who also had an interest in the field of geology.
The participants of the trip were taken on a tour all over the Smoky Hills region and given time to get out in the fields and search for rocks and minerals.
"It's so much fun," Carmen said. "There's no TV or video games. You're out there together for a long time."
Chance and Zach found volcanic ash, which the tour guide told them had blown all the way up from New Mexico. They also picked up a shark's tooth as well as filled many buckets with rocks.
After collecting the specimens, the two had to prepare them for the fair. They smash some of the bigger rocks into smaller pieces because each sample is required to have a clean break and they all need to be a uniform size. Then the rocks are cleaned and identified. They mount the rocks in wood display cases along with labels next to each sample.
In addition to the geology project, Chance also will enter the rocketry, cats and foods competitions. And Zach will participate in the crafts, as well as in entomology, the study of insects, competitions.