Catherine W. Idzerda" />

Fair's open class is just for adults

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Catherine W. Idzerda
September 4, 2011
— You’re never too old to win a blue ribbon.

Karla Logterman, a grandmother from Delavan, has won dozens. So have her grown daughters.

And they’re not talking about the ribbons they won as youngsters in 4-H. They’re talking about the ribbons they’ve won as adults in the highly competitive “open class” judging at the Walworth County Fair.

Open class means anyone, of any age, can enter. Most fairs have both junior and open class judging, with 4-H and FFA clubs usually sticking to the junior category. The Rock County 4-H Fair is one of the exceptions; it is designed to showcase the skills of young people only.

At the Walworth County Fair, adults have their own division in most categories. They can enter large and small animals, sewing projects, food, canning, floral arts, produce, antiques, quilting and several other categories.

As a youngster, Logterman showed beef and competed in food and clothing.

As a grown-up, she served as a junior leader in beef and later was a general leader.

For the past few years, she’s competed in the pie, fudge and “dairy delight” categories.

What’s the best she’s ever done?

“I won grand champion for one of my pies,” Logterman said.

Here’s the best part of that story: She’s won so many ribbons and entered so many times that she wasn’t sure what kind of pie the grand champion was. Peach? Cherry? Pumpkin?

Logterman wasn’t always so good.

“I’d get so frustrated, I’d throw the dough against the counter,” she said.

Now her piecrusts involve buttery Crisco and no throwing whatsoever.

As for her fillings, she prefers cornstarch as a thickener.

Her daughters—Marianna Nelson, Nicole Wilke, Laura Suiter and Kimberly Anderson—were in 4-H as children and have been involved in the fair as adults.

This year, Wilke entered a variety of categories, including muffins and bars. Nelson’s entries include pies, cupcakes, cross-stitch and a Christmas stocking.

All of the women have experienced the joy of winning ribbons and the disappointment of not placing at all. In the open categories, only four ribbons are awarded, first to fourth.

Their advice for other adults wanting to compete?

Logterman: Read the contest rules very carefully. Also, it’s crucial to use fresh ingredients. That’s especially true for shortening, baking powder, baking soda and nuts.

Nelson: A judge once told her that just because one judge doesn’t like something doesn’t mean that it’s no good. It’s possible that another judge, on another day, would like it.

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