Cobians power up when it’s 4-H fair time—Their club may be one of the smallest in Pierce County, but 4-H is huge in the lives of the George Cobian family.
By: Bill Kirk, Pierce County Herald
HAGER CITY — Their club may be one of the smallest in Pierce County, but 4-H is huge in the lives of the George Cobian family.
Crystal (Hines), an adult daughter, is now the leader of the Green Clovers, in which her younger siblings, Caleb and Emma, are members. Both of the younger Cobians have earned grand champions on 4-H projects they’ve entered at the Pierce County Fair.
“I don’t know what I’m going to enter in this year’s fair yet,” Caleb Cobian said.
His mother, Karen, said the brother-and-sister have been in the approximately 15-member club “since the beginning of time.” His sister will be represented in the dairy, dog, chicken and hog categories at the upcoming fair, their mom said.
The son, who helps their dad on the family’s 950-acre farm in Hager City, has developed an interest in electricity. His four grand champs involved electricity, as did his sister’s (she’s an Ellsworth High School sophomore and they also have a grown brother, Richard).
“I’ve been working with electricity for six years,” Caleb Cobian said, though admitting he got more serious about it four years ago.
The senior at Ellsworth High School said earth science and physics tend to be his favorite school subjects.
“I’m better at math,” he said, comparing classes. “I like hands-on stuff.”
A project he completed last year added an electric motor to previous work, Cobian said. The year before, he had focused on an A/C generator.
“It wasn’t as hard to build,” he said of the motor, noting the generator incorporated reverse technology.
He researched the project on the internet, finding YouTube helpful, he said. He made various prototypes of the model set-up showing how electricity travels from a power plant to a house (with a removable roof so a tiny light bulb can be changed), using different amounts of coils and wires until he got it working the way he wanted.
“I ended up taking a brush out of an alternator,” he said, admitting he was surprised to find super glue holding the item.
The model earned him one grand champion at the fair. Cobian said the judge not only valued a working presentation, but a show of understanding about the topic.
Other fair grand champs for the EHS senior came from a question board and a buzzer he built, he said. He made the board more complex by having four possible answers, with a response from the correct one. He relied on car relays and switches for this effort, which he finished three years ago.
The buzzer, done four years ago, has two electromagnets, the builder said. Printed material is attached to explain the workings. Cobian’s mom remembered him entering in the fair’s open class as early as when he was four-years-old. He said he used to show Holsteins, chickens and dogs.
The club meets monthly in a multi-purpose room on the lower level of the courthouse, the 4-Her said. Meetings are devoted to filling out forms and giving demonstrations, among other activities.
When Cobian isn’t mixing feed, working in the farm’s fields or its shop, he enjoys playing X-Box, he said. The operation includes 75 cows, besides sheep and chickens; the milk is shipped to the Ellsworth Co-op Creamery. Crops are corn, soybeans, oats and hay.
“There’s so much diversity in 4-H,” Karen Cobian said, adding, “you can do just about anything you can imagine.”
Following are other 4-H clubs in Pierce County and their leaders, as listed by the 4-H office:
--Big River Defenders (formerly Optimistiks), Kristi O’Malley and Lisa Gannon.
--Busy Fingers, Vicky Hoffman and Sara King.
--Cady Creek Crickets, Julie Lee and Stacy Lee.
--Cloverleaf, Theresa Fusilier and Tami Gregg.
--Country Partners, Linda Donnelly and Dennis and Cindy Baird.
--Falcon Falls, Alisha Raehsler and Leslee Miller.
--Fancy Doers, Cheryl Kauffer.
--Helpful Workers, DeAnna Hines.
--Helping Hands, Gail Stewart.
--Isabelle Creek, Kari Lacy.
--Maiden Rock Rockets, Evelyn Johnson.
--Mann Valley, Georgia Whall, Amanda Ressler, Nancy Lindall and Michelle Elliott.
--Martell Rushers, Terri Rinke.
--Merri-Heirs, Heather Weiss and Tracy Longsdorf.
--Olivet Otters, Susan Hayes.
--River Ramblers, Andrea Nthole and Michelle Swenson.
--Rock Elm Skyrockets, Kathy and Gwen Geraets.
--Royal Rushers, Pam Dressen.
--Rush River Ranchers, Siobhan O’Connell.
--St. Croix Stars, Katy Swan.
--Town and Country, Shelly Hansen and Gwen Conklin.
--Valley Eagles, Sara Anderson and Peggy Larson.
--Veritas Seekers, Kristie Wilkens.