Do you know what year the Hamilton County Fair first began? Do you know what a phenotype is? If so, you're likely among the group of 4-H members who competed in Wednesday's Hamilton County Fair quiz bowl.
Several teams, young and old, competed in the quiz bowl, lead by 4-H summer assistant Jenni Ihrig. Contestants aren't given the questions beforehand, or even given a packet to study. Ihrig said she picked questions that pertained to specific project areas at the fair, Hamilton County Fair and local 4-H history, and other questions asked a previous quiz bowls.
"I took a lot of those kind of areas and made them specific," Ihrig said. "I figured 4-H'ers should know a lot of that stuff about the fair."
Mara Borer, left, reads questions to the Boone Boosters adult team in the quiz bowl while Jenni Ihrig stands in the back to keep score. The adult team, from left at the table, is Kristi and Brett Ahrens, Alice Heinrichs and Pat Rittscher. The team won the quiz bowl handily with 50 points in the final round.
Much of Ihrig's research came from online research. It also came from her nine years of experience in 4-H. Some of the questions also pertained to Iowa in general, with several questions about the Iowa State Fair.
A Jackson County native, Ihrig said this quiz bowl was her first experience with the competition.
"It was a new experience as well," Ihrig said. "I've seen them in the past, but I've never experienced one myself."
Each round, teams of four members were asked a series of about a dozen questions. In lieu of buzzers, contestants simply slapped the table to indicate they would like to answer the question. Six teams total participated in the quiz bowl. For each question answered correctly, a team was awarded five points, with only one round going into tiebreaker questions.
From whole teams of 4-H members like the Boone Boosters team, to an adult Boone Boosters team and a mix of past and present Freedom Flickers 4-H members, many age groups were represented in the bowl. With just several teams signed up to compete in the bowl, Ihrig and emcee Mara Borer invited several 4-H members to organize their own teams during the event.
In the end, it was the years of knowledge accumulated about the fair, 4-H and Iowa that helped the Boone Boosters adult team with the quiz bowl. Kristi Ahrens, Brett Ahrens, Pat Rittscher and Alice Heinrichs consisted of the winning team.