Recent Nevada graduate, Danielle Sporrer, enjoyed a fantastic Story County Youth Fair this year.

Not only was Danielle crowned runner-up in the Story County Fair Queen competition, she also met personal goals of having a champion first-year cow/calf pair, a supreme cow/calf pair and the reserve lightweight market steer. "These are big awards," Danielle said.

The reserve award meant her winning steer got to be part of the "final drive" on the last night of the fair. Even though it didn’t place that night, Danielle said it was fun to be a part of it. "That’s been my whole goal every year," she said.

As first runner-up in the Story County Queen competition, Danielle must be ready to step in for the queen - Britta Hurd - just in case something happens and Britta can’t fulfill her duties, one of which is competing at the state fair queen competition this month. No one expects anything to happen, however, and Danielle said she plans to attend the Iowa State Fair to have fun and to support Hurd, who she considers a new friend.

In fact, that was the best thing about taking part in the fair queen competition, Danielle said. "It was more about meeting friends. We didn’t care who was going to win; just hanging out with new friends was fun."

Danielle said she was encouraged to run for fair queen by her 4-H leader, Twila Longnecker, who organizes the fair queen competition. "I held about every officer position in our 4-H club (Grant Guys and Gals) and was old enough to do it. I think she just wanted me to gain confidence. I am very shy, so it was a good way to step out of my box."

The hardest part of stepping out of that box, she admitted, was being "on display" in front of the judges. She found being alone with the judges a bit intimidating, but making it through that was a good thing. "I could do it again now," she admits.

At the queen competition, held the Saturday of the Story County Youth Fair, Danielle was escorted in by her father, Rick, while her mother, Chris, watched from the stands. When they announced her as the first runner-up, Danielle said, "I was excited. Actually, I didn’t think I was going to place."

Both the county and state fairs, and 4-H have been a big part of growing up in the Sporrer household, Danielle said. Even though she’s about to head off to the University of Northern Iowa, where she plans to major in biology, Danielle said she hopes to return in future years to watch her two younger sisters - Clara and Erica - compete at the county fair and to help her family. She also hopes to eat the Methodist stand’s French fries many more times. "They’re my favorite," she said of the crunchy-style fries.

Over the years, Danielle has taken part in various project areas, including consumer sciences, photography, woodworking, gardening/horticulture and of course, cattle. She thanks her parents for making her be a part of 4-H. "I’ve learned to love (4-H) a lot, and it’s taught me to become the woman I am today. It really shaped me. I can’t say thank you enough (to my parents); they’ve made sure everything’s ready on time and have helped me a lot."

Danielle also is thankful to her leader, Twila Longnecker, and Twila’s husband Jeff for all they’ve done to support her since she started 4-H in fourth grade. This year’s very successful and memorable fair for her, she said, would not have been possible without the Longnecker’s support.

"I was in tears on the last night, and Twila and Jeff are the ones who made me cry. They kept saying how proud I’ve made them. It made me wish I could do it one more year."

There is one more fair thing she will get to do for a couple more years - show livestock with the Nevada FFA. "We can show until we’re 20 (years old)," she said. So she very much hopes to return for that.