Kansas competitor

Mar. 11—LARNED — Larned High School's Kansas Lange won top honors and Grayson Maxwell claimed second place and tradeshow honors at Thursday's Sixth Annual Pawnee County Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge.

Five student competitors from across the county vied for a total $1,200 in prize money hosted by the Larned Area Chamber of Commerce and Network Kansas, at the Chamber's Jordaan Room at 502 Broadway in Larned.

Lange, who is a past challenge competitor, won the $500 top prize, while Maxwell earned $300 for second place and $200 for being the tradeshow winner exhibiting his Farm to Table meat sales enterprise.

Third place was won by Pawnee Heights High School's Elizabeth LaPointe, for a $100 prize. LaPointe's project was a candlemaking enterprise using soy wax, entitled "The Melting Pot."

Maxwell takes honors at YEC Tradeshow Thursday

After submitting the executive summary of their project for the judges to review, each of the five students opened the competition Thursday with the tradeshow. With the help of static displays, the students explained their project to the visiting public in exchange for a popular vote. Though it is the sixth year for the Pawnee County YEC, Thursday was the first time the tradeshow portion was included in the competition.

Each person was given two tokens to vote however they chose.

Thursday's top honoree

Larned High School's Lange put a lot of thought and care into her entrepreneurship project presentation for 2024. After all, it's going to be her career choice.

"Last year it became really clear to me what I wanted to do," noted Lange, who has two years of general education at Allen County Community College, two years of pre-veterinary study at Kansas State University, then veterinary school and then residency before putting her plan into effect.

Lange's plan, which she successfully presented to the judges Thursday to win top honors at Pawnee County's 2024 Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge, is to parlay her future veterinary degree into animal husbandry.

"I really love agriculture," she said. "Especially the reproductive side of it. Seeing the dam and what she has to offer, and the sire, and then making it happen and seeing what the offspring is like. "I'm a small person, but I really like working with large animals," she said. "There is actually a shortage of large animal veterinarians across America. So, people don't want to invest in the equipment to take care of that. There is a shortage of AI (artificial insemination) technicians out in Southwest Kansas, so while the rest of the state is pretty well covered, Southwest Kansas is severely underdeveloped going into Southeast Colorado.

"Hopefully, I'll be able to start small and then spread out into that underserved area over about the next 30 years."

Also presenting were Pawnee Heights students Eli Hoffman, for his "HBar Ranch" horse training service; and Savannah McDonald, for her digital art studio.