• Carter Taylor, left, Senior Prepared Winner, and Christian Siegel,right, Senior Extemporaneous Winner.
    Carter Taylor, left, Senior Prepared Winner, and Christian Siegel,right, Senior Extemporaneous Winner.

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Youths from across the state took part in one of Missouri 4-H’s oldest and most popular competitions, the 4-H State Public Speaking Contest. Held on the University of Missouri campus in September, the event drew 45 youths from 27 counties.

Clay Hurdle, state 4-H leadership and civic engagement specialist, said the 4-H’ers worked hard all year to prepare for this annual culminating experience that allows them to showcase their skills to a panel of judges. Senior participants who won first place in one of the six categories had the opportunity to show off their skills to participants and their families at the end of the contest.

In 4-H, youths begin at an early age to learn to speak in front of others by giving age-appropriate demonstrations to their peers and then participating in conference judging for their projects, Hurdle said.

“I am thrilled to have seen so many of our 4-H’ers from across the state commit to developing their public speaking skills and showcasing their abilities among their peers, family and the 4-H extensionists and volunteers who made this year’s event possible.” he said. “These young people are our future science communicators, agricultural and natural resource advocates, and policy spokespersons. Our present and, indeed, our future, is in great hands thanks to these outstanding communicators.”

Awards are presented to the top three competitors in each category and age division.

  • Intermediate Business Pitch: Mallory Hall, Johnson County, first place.
  • Junior Extemporaneous: Owen Smith, Laclede County, first place; Lucy Thurman, Lincoln County, second place.
  • Intermediate Extemporaneous: Garrett Samek, Polk County, first place; Kinsey Heisey, Caldwell County, second place; Reed Miller, Marion County, third place.
  • Senior Extemporaneous: Christian Siegel, Boone County, first place; Alyssa Thornhill, Adair County, second place; Lea Simmons, Putnam County, third place.
  • Intermediate Humorous Interpretation: Nolen Phillips, Lafayette County, first place.
  • Senior Humorous Interpretation: Kaycie Hollrah, St. Charles County, first place.
  • Junior Dramatic Interpretation: Luke Shepherd, Marion County, first place.
  • Senior Dramatic Interpretation: Brody Phillips, Lafayette County, first place.
  • Junior Technology Assisted: Molly Wright, Clay County, first place; Makenna Stephens, Lafayette County, second place.
  • Intermediate Technology Assisted: Alex Dyer, Lafayette County, first place; Jacey Heisey, Caldwell County, second place; Brody Baker, Macon County, third place.
  • Senior Technology Assisted: Katelyn Wright, Clay County, first place.
  • Junior Prepared Speech: Mary Wright, Clay County, first place; Raeleigh Brown, Barry County, second place; Sullivan Holder, Clinton County, third place.
  • Intermediate Prepared Speech: KaBella Bruno, St. Charles County, first place; Austin Hubler, Clay County, second County; Thomas Hulse, Marion County, third place.
  • Senior Prepared Speech: Carter Taylor, Cooper County, first place; Ellie Samek, Polk County, second place; Zoe Engelbrecht, Lafayette County, third place.

4-H Civic Engagement

Programs offered by Missouri 4-H would not be possible without support from our partners. Major support for Missouri 4-H Civic Engagement programs is provided by the Missouri 4-H Foundation in partnership with the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives, FCS Financial, the Miller Family Foundation, the Missouri Pork Association, the Missouri Corn Growers Association, Veterans United Foundation, Aaron and Erica Baker, Mary Davis, Robert E. “Bud” Hertzog, D.V.M., the Martz Family, Dr. Marla J. Tobin, and the Turner Family.

About Missouri 4-H

More than 55,000 members strong, Missouri 4-H is an active, dynamic organization of young people who are learning, growing and preparing to be the leaders of today and tomorrow – making a real difference in their community, country and world. 4-H is the youth development program of the University of Missouri and the nation’s Cooperative Extension System. For more information, visit

Carter Taylor, left, Senior Prepared Winner, and Christian Siegel,right, Senior Extemporaneous Winner.