More than 1,500 Illinois 4-H members care for dogs as part of their project work. Obedience training provides mental stimulation that keeps dogs mentally and physically healthy and provides structure for appropriate behavior.

More than 200 members advanced from county competitions to compete in the Illinois 4-H State Dog Show held Aug. 24 at the Granny Rose K-9 Enrichment Center in Dixon. Members competed in obedience, showmanship, and rally classes.

Tazewell County 4-H had three youth compete, including Mikayla Bankes, Morton; Alexia Fekete, Morton; and Elyana Leitner, Pekin. Each of these young ladies and their dogs did a fantastic job representing Tazewell County!

Duncan Hughes of Champaign County earned the highest score in the most advanced novice class. Additional top finishers are Lilly Letts, Rock Island County, second; Mikayla Bankes, Tazewell County, third; and Kayla Connelly, Grundy County, fourth.

The junior showmanship winner is Dante Ketelsen from Whiteside County. Reserve junior champion is Julia Eaker from Grundy County. In the senior division, the champion showman is Duncan Hughes from Champaign County, and the reserve champion showman is Faith Bailey from Piatt County.

For the first time in Illinois 4-H, a rally division was also held with 44 youth-dog teams competing. In rally, the youth trainer and dog navigate a course together as fast as possible. Throughout the course, signs instruct the different exercise the dog must perform. Youth may not touch the dog, but can use verbal commands, claps and hand signals.

McLean County competitor Kara Froidcoeur is the rally champion. Additional winners include Willa Getzelman, Kane County, second; Natalie Markin, Winnebago County, third; Alexia Fekete, Tazewell County, fourth; Westley Steiger, Rock Island County, fifth; and Kendra Nehring, Stephenson County, sixth.