Sisters Elese and Sam Andol of Maynard, Minn., both 4-H participants, entered a 4-H essay contest, each writing an essay one to two pages long for the chance to win a horse. Sam wrote about why she wanted an Arabian horse and Elese wrote about why she wanted a Pintabian horse.
Usually, as part of this contest, the top essay winners would go to the 4-H state horse show, where they would do extra interviews and eventually the winners of these horses would be decided.
But, due to COVID, the event was cancelled this year and the organizers ran the contest differently. This year, contest entrants would just write that essay and wait for a call to hear if they were one of the top entrants in their category to win that horse they wrote about.
If they were to win, the sisters were expecting a call at certain point, but when that point passed, they didn’t think they had won. But then they both each received that winning call at different times on the same day.
“Everybody else was gone on a trail ride and we just assumed that neither of us had won anything,” Sam said. “So when everyone else came back from the trail ride, we were all excited to tell them about it.”
Their mom Karen was happy about the shared accomplishment, Elese explained.
“My mom said that… she had a feeling that both of us would win,” Elese said. “And she said she was happy because otherwise one of us would kind of sit there a little jealous of the other.”
Sam would earn first place outright in her category and win an Arabian filly named Biscuit from Otsego, Minn.
“I was very jumpy and excited,” Sam said about when she found out.
Elese would tie with another person in her category and win a Pintabian colt named Rango from rural Karlstad, Minn., specifically Alan and Jennifer Hicks of AJ Pintabians.
“I guess it was kind of just a shock though,” Elese said, “how you kind of just sit there, not sure what’s going on quite yet.”
Both they and their new horses will be part of the 4-H horse training program—”part of the deal” for winning the essay contest, Elese added.
The Andol family has local area ties, formerly living around Badger, but moving over five hours south to Maynard, Minn.— located about an hour and a half south of Alexandria— during summer 2014. While living around Badger, the two sisters would attend school in Badger and both participate in 4-H.
Also of note, while in Badger, their mom Karen ran a greenhouse business on the family’s property, their dad Derek judged as part of the Wojo’s Rodeo Circuit based out of rural Greenbush, and their oldest sister Laurel rode bulls in the area.
In Maynard, the family lives on the very edge of the city limits. As the sisters described it, their property includes 30 acres of hayfield, three greenhouses, a barn, three pasture areas, a couple sheds, and some grain bins here and there.
Elese, a junior, and Sam, eighth grade, attend school at MACCRAY High School in nearby Clara City, Minn. Both are currently distance learning.
As part of winning this essay contest, they could either go and get their horse or have the owners drop off the horse. The Andol family used both options. They went to Midwest Arabians in Otsego to pick up Sam’s horse in mid-September.
“It was an eye-opener for me. I’ve never seen a big barn before. I’ve been around big breeders but never seen their farms,” Karen said. “… It was neat to see; it’s quite a swanky place.”
AJ Pintabians delivered Elese’s horse from Karlstad to Maynard in early October.
To see the complete story, read the October 28 issue of The Tribune and an upcoming issue of the North Star News in print or online.