Jefferson County 4-H Fair Queen Katy McFarland, below, gets a surprise cool-down from Mike Hazelwood during the 4-H Club Challenge on Thursday at the 2014 Jefferson County 4-H Fair. Above, 4-H’ers slide into a pile of shaving cream-covered balloons. (Staff photos by Ken Ritchie/kritchie@madisoncourier.com)
Jefferson County 4-H Fair Queen Katy McFarland, below, gets a surprise cool-down from Mike Hazelwood during the 4-H Club Challenge on Thursday at the 2014 Jefferson County 4-H Fair. Above, 4-H’ers slide into a pile of shaving cream-covered balloons. (Staff photos by Ken Ritchie/kritchie@madisoncourier.com)
With so much of the 4-H Fair focused on serious competition, there isn't much time for the 4-H'ers to let loose and just act like kids.

When Jennifer Bowling and Kathy Douglas, leaders of the Young Country 4-H Club, started the 4-H Club Challenge, fun was what they had in mind.

"It's just a chance to play games and get dirty and have fun," Douglas said.

The annual event is filled with games for 4-Hers of all ages to compete in. The games, such as tug-of-war, usually involve mud, water, shaving cream or a combination of all three.

"The idea was that a lot of kids have animal projects, and a lot of kids have exhibit hall projects, but there aren't a lot of chances for everyone to be together," Bowling said. "This is for all the kids."

For each event, clubs divide members into teams of six, and the team with the lowest score at the end of the day, wins.

The top three teams win T-shirts, and the team with the best overall score will win a pizza party. The winning team will be announced Saturday.

Brenden Stucker and his family have been camping at the fair this week. Brenden said most of the family is up by 7 a.m. and they don't finish their day until around midnight.

Brenden said he has attended the Club Challenge for five years.

"It's fun just getting dirty," he said.

When the event first began, Bowling said around 50 4-H'ers participated, but growth has been steady since then.

"We had 175 kids last year, and we're expecting around 200 this year," she said.

4-H'ers Evan Long, Isaac Marshall and Jackson Stockdale said they've all enjoyed the event in the past and try to make it every year.

"It's a fun tradition," Isaac said.

"And we get to play in the mud," Evan chimed in.