For Kelci Cooper, the summer isn’t complete without the Miami County Fair.
When the fair opens Thursday, Cooper already will have been busy for months preparing for the fair as both a 4-H club participant and a member of the Junior Fair Board.
The daughter of Todd and Charlotte Cooper of Piqua, she will be a senior this fall at Hardin-Houston schools and has been in 4-H for nearly a decade.
“I just love the feeling of (the) fair. It is my second home during the summer,” she said. “I like all of the people, being able to see everyone in Miami County come together and just enjoy the agricultural aspect of the fair. I like being able to walk around and see all of the animals.”
Her free time during the fair week will be limited, as she handles her projects in fancy poultry and carries out Junior Fair Board duties such as helping at shows. She knows the busy life of fair from past years, including 2017, when she was the county Poultry Queen.
A member of the A Bunch of Hair 4-H Club, Cooper’s earliest fair project involved rabbits.
“I have always liked rabbits. I always thought they were adorable so that is probably why I started out with them,” she said.
Other projects have included market poultry, fancy poultry and dogs. The Cooper family raises chickens, making poultry projects a natural. In addition to her parents, the family includes brothers Trent, 25, and Tanner, 15.
As a student at Hardin-Houston in Shelby County, Cooper participates in both the Shelby and Miami county fairs. At school, she also is a member of the FFA organization.
As the county Poultry Queen last year, Cooper assisted judges in keeping scores, handing out ribbons and overseeing shows. This year, she’ll be among contestants for the fair queen, saying she strives to serve as a role model for young girls.
She works at a Troy animal hospital cleaning and helping care for cats and dogs. She said she’s had a couple of ideas as far as a career over the years, but her thoughts change as she grows. She’s considered the military, wants to go to college and thought about pursuing a career in veterinary medicine.
Cooper encourages other youth to explore 4-H.
“It is definitely something that helps build you as an individual,” she said.
For more information on the Miami County 4-H program, visit miami.osu.edu.