Marin Janke of Martensdale won both Grand Champion Horse and Grand Champion Pony during Thursday's horse show during the Warren County Fair's livestock show.

A first-time competitor at the Warren County Fair took top honors at the horse show Thursday.

Marin Janke of Martensdale claimed banners for grand champion halter horse, as well as grand champion halter pony and showmanship for grades 4, 5 and 6.

“I was really excited because I’m not usually the grand champion, because we go to our little saddle club shows. A lot of the people are adults,” said Janke, who’s heading into fifth grade and is a member of the Jackson Hilltoppers 4-H Club.

She said both her horse and pony are geldings. To prepare for the show ring, “you need to wash them and make sure they look clean, band their manes and then you can put a fake tail in. It just makes it look more full and puffy. And practice!”

Janke enjoys the competition aspect of the show, but pointed out that, in halter class, her animals are the ones in the spotlight.

“In halter, it’s judged on the horse and what it looks like,” she explained, adding that judges tend to look for the horse or pony that is a good example of its breed.

Janke won with a 14-year-old sorrel quarter horse and a 10-year-old leopard Pony of America (POA). She said that each have two names: one to be registered under, and one for the barn.

Her quarter horse formally goes by Positively Absolute, but answers to Brego at home. Janke’s pony is registered as Santee Sanchem, but mostly goes by Patch, his moniker inspired by his spots.

Even though Janke was new to the Warren County Fair show ring, she’s no stranger to horses and ponies.

“I started riding when I was 3,” she said. “My mom would lead me.”

Her mom, Lindsay Janke, had grown up showing in 4-H in Webster County. It was meaningful, she said, to watch Marin “take her first steps here in Warren County.”

And even though halter class focuses on the animal’s appearance, she said the younger Janke put in the work to make sure Brego and Patch were ready for their closeup. The judge also commented they were put together well.


Gabe Hammond rides Tuffy through the Handy Horse competition Thursday. The FFA competitors took third in the competition. While much of the Warren County Fair was postponed until next year, livestock exhibits were held through the end of last week.

“She worked really hard to prepare and make sure her horses looked great,” Lindsay said. “She went out there and showed them really well, so I was a proud parent.”

Although COVID-19 limited the Warren County Fair to livestock shows only, and without a public in-person audience, Lindsay said the competition itself was able to go on as usual, albeit with fewer participants.

“It didn’t change it,” Lindsay said of COVID-19’s impact on the contest itself. “There were less people there watching. The superintendent said that typically there are about 90 horses there, and this year there were 60.”

So, where does Marin go from here, earning grand champion her first time out of the gate with her horses?

“Keeping it up!” she said.

As for Patch and Brego, there could be some extra treats, and attention, waiting for them at home.

“Carrot treats and apple treats. Sometimes Patch likes butterscotch treats,” Marin said. “I really like being with them. I like showing them.”


Grand champion pony — Marin Janke and Santee Sachem

Reserve grand champion pony — Elviia Papcun and Rooster

Champion horse — Marin Janke and Positively Absolute

Reserve grand champion horse — Ian Ackerson and Holly

Master horseman — Elivia Papcun and Vegas

Master equitation — Elvira Papcun and Vegas

Master showmanship — Elvira Papcun and Rooster



Kaylee Dykstra took first in the junior flag race competition, which requires competitors to grab a flag from a bucket of sand, complete a figure 8, and then put the flag in another bucket of sand. While much of the Warren County Fair was postponed until next year, livestock exhibits were held through the end of last week.

Four-Year-Old Ponies Gelding — Marin Janke

Foals — Elivia Papcun

Yearlings — Ellie Anderson

Four-Year-Olds and Older Mares — Taren Dierking

Four-Year-Olds and Older Gelding — Marin Janke

Horse, any age — Ian Ackerson


Showmanship, 10, 11, 12 — Ellie Anderson

Showmanship 7, 8, 9 — Elivia Papcun

Showmanship 4, 5, 6 — Marin Janke

Driving Class — MaKenna Fetters

Senior English Pleasure — Anna Young

Junior/Intermediate English Pleasure — Elivia Papcun

Senior English Equitation — Anna Young

Junior/Intermediate English Equitation — Riley Sievers

Hunter Hack — Ellie Anderson

Novice-Walk-Trot Pleasure — Kaylee Dykstra

Pony Western Pleasure — Elivia Papcun

Ranch Horse Pleasure-Senior — Anna Young

Ranch Horse Pleasure-Intermediate — Abbey Peterson

Ranch Horse Pleasure -Junior — Kinsey Snuggs

Western Pleasure-Senior 14.1 Plus — Emilee Hintz

Western Pleasure Intermediate 14.1 Plus — Alaynah Perry

Western Pleasure Junior 14.1 Plus — Tucker Dierking

Western Horsemanship-Senior — Anna Young

Western Horsemanship-Intermediate — MaKenna Fetters

Western Horsemanship-Jr — Marin Janke

Reining-Any Age Exhibitor — Ellie Anderson

Trail Class-Senior — Ellie Anderson

Trail Class-Intermediate — Alaynah Perry

Trail Class-Junior — Kinsey Snuggs

Barrel Racing-Senior — Sierra Chittenden

Barrel Racing-Intermediate — Audrey Adams

Barrel Racing-Junior — Kaylee Dykstra

Flag Race-Senior — Emilee Hintz

Flag Race-Intermediate — Ian Hammond

Flag Race-Junior — Kaylee Dykstra

Handy Horse-Senior — Sierra Chittenden

Handy Horse-Intermediate — Riley Sievers

Keyhole-Senior — Erika Boies

Keyhole-Intermediate — Taylor Gibson

Jumping Figure Eights-Senior — Ellie Anderson

Jumping Figure Eights-Intermediate — Riley Sievers

Pole Bending-Senior — Mara Cosenza

Pole Bending-Intermediate — Audrey Adams

Pole Bending-Junior — Kaylee Dykstra

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