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Hornecker seeks continued improvement in 4-H projects

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Casper – For 11-year-old Emmy Hornecker, county fair is about showing and friends, both of which fuel her drive to improve in her projects each year. 

Hornecker, the daughter of Heath and Jaime Hornecker, is in her third year as a Natrona County 4-H member, and she brought a steer, a heifer and seven lambs to the Central Wyoming Fair, which was held July 9-14 in Casper. 

“I also baked two kinds of cookies and a blueberry pie this year for fair,” she says. 

Show world

While Hornecker has only been showing her own livestock for three years, she has been immersed in the world of livestock since birth.

“My older brother does 4-H, too, so I started because my brother was showing, and it’s something that everyone in our family does,” Hornecker says. “I like showing both lambs and steers, but I like the lambs better because they’re a little bit easier to show.” 

When she first started, however, Hornecker was also showing pigs. 

“We decided to settle with just cows and sheep,” she explains. “The pigs were so messy and took up a lot of space and time.” 

In showing, Hornecker says hard work is the most important part of success, and determination is important. 

“I have to be determined to work with my animals. I can’t just decide I don’t want to show one day,” she says, noting that preparing for fair take times and effort. “This year, I worked with my animals every day, feeding them the right amount, getting them to eat and getting them in the right condition.” 

Hornecker also practices before county fair by showing at several shows leading up to the big event. 

“We bring our steers to the bred-and-fed shows up at Casper College to get them used to the show ring and used to being in front of everyone,” she explains. 

Shooting for the top

This year, as with every year, Hornecker says she hopes to be the best in her class and win a belt buckle. 

“I always want to do well, and I’ve always wanted a belt buckle,” she says. “Last year, I won my first buckle for reserve grand champion in the ultrasound contest.” 

With a constant drive for improvement, Hornecker says this year, she selected a steer she believes is better structurally. 

“The last couple years, I haven’t been happy with my steer’s hind legs and structure, but I think this year, my steer is better,” she explains. “He’s not as big, but he’s better structurally. I think I’m going to do better this year.” 


When she’s not in the barn working with her steers, Hornecker enjoys the kitchen, where she bakes with her mom.

“This is my second year entering baking projects at fair. I think baking is really fun, and I like learning with my mom. She helps me a lot,” Hornecker comments. 

This year, Hornecker drew on her roots as she prepared baked goods for fair. 

“My grandma makes really good pie, so I wanted to see if I could make a pie like she does,” she says. “I think we did pretty well.”

“I’m always excited for county fair,” Hornecker comments. “I like showing, and I have a lot of friends at fair. It’s always fun to hang out with my friends and show together.”

Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at

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