Robert Woock, Waupun FFA and Burnett 4-H, grew up on his family’s farm. As is typical of a working farm, there’s always scrap metal lying around. “One day, my older sister and I started welding things together, and now my Mom has a yard full of garden trinkets.”

Woock enters his creations in the natural sciences’ recycling project at the Dodge County Fair every year and consistently brings home champion ribbons. This year was no different. “I made a fire pit from an old clamp-style truck rim; fence posts which held an old grill grate; and horseshoes for decoration and to carry the fire pit,” commented Woock. “Last year, I made a hanging-basket holder out of another tire rim; a silo-unloader auger; rotary rake teeth which held the hanging baskets; and a disk blade. Pretty much every year I’m fortunate enough to bring home some sort of special-merit ribbon.”

Sibling rivalry was common between Woock and his older sister. “When my sister was still young enough to be in 4-H, she made recycled projects, too, and it was a competition between us.”

For an artist, it’s fun for Woock to watch his projects take shape. “Sometimes my projects are designed by how stuff fits together; other times I find something online and modify it to accommodate what I have lying around; or a project idea just comes together as I work.”

Overall, Woock has one main reason why he likes to create with recycled items. “I like to be able to use junk and make it into art. I think that’s cool instead of just throwing it away.”

The Dodge County Fair runs through Aug. 18, 2019.

Written by Dori Lichty — farm wife, 4-H Mom, and full-time communicator