by Linda Geist
It was 60 years ago that Kay Daggs Eggleston was the Scotland County 4-H Fair Queen.
She will be honored again on Aug. 17 when she is inducted into the Missouri 4-H Hall of Fame in Sedalia.
Once a member and leader, Eggleston remains an active volunteer and supporter of the county 4-H club her father helped organize. Her twin granddaughters are the fourth generation in her family to participate in 4-H activities in Scotland County.
According to the Memphis Democrat, Eggleston was part of the first 4-H program during the county fair’s 75th anniversary that year. A member of Azen Jolly Timers 4-H Club and wearing a sea-green dress made by her mother, the 13-year-old queen earned a trip by train to the International Livestock Show in Chicago. The local paper estimated a crowd of 3,000 turned out on the fair’s opening night to see the 4-H club’s first musical revue, a greased pig contest and bicycle and pony races.
Eggleston’s family members built their lives around the family farm, 4-H and FFA activities. She was one of the few females to participate in livestock competitions during her youth, and she recalls hauling animals to county fairs in a truck with stock racks, unloading the animals and sleeping in the back of the truck or on a bale of straw in a stall.
Eggleston belonged to the Rural Rough Riders, a club for horse showmanship, and also participated in cooking and sewing classes offered by 4-H. Years later, when she had three children born within three years, she learned the true value of her sewing skills. “I made all—not some—of their clothes,” she says.
She participated in 4-H until she was 18, later becoming a leader and volunteer. Through the years she has seen many changes in the 4-H program. There are now many more projects and 4-H activities for children who live outside of rural areas. “Anyone can belong to 4-H now,” she says. “You don’t have to be a country kid.”
Eggleston takes pride in having been a 4-H member, parent and grandparent. She said she is always reminded of happy times she shared with her parents and brother, and she hopes that her children and grandchildren will feel the same in later years.
Eggleston is always on the front bleacher of her twin granddaughters’ cattle and sheep shows, and she lends financial support and volunteer hours to the club.
When she’s not at a county fair or cattle or sheep show with her daughter and granddaughters, she owns and operates Eggleston Bookkeeping and Tax Service in nearby Memphis.
The Missouri 4-H Hall of Fame was established by the Missouri 4-H Foundation in 2007 to honor the legacy of outstanding 4-H volunteers.
Volunteers must have at least 20 years of service to be nominated. This year’s 47 members have logged 1,465 combined years of service, averaging 35 years and representing 40 counties.
Missouri 4-H Foundation sponsors the Hall of Fame program in partnership with FCS Financial and the Missouri State Fair.