Splash of cash for Canadian County 4-H

Dunk tank among highlights of Canadian County Free Fair

Leah Harris, 12, dunks Canadian County 4-H extension educator Alexis Graham in the Canadian County 4-H dunk tank during the recent Canadian County Free Fair in El Reno.

By Cara Pattison
Contributing Writer

EL RENO – Canadian County 4-Hers received a healthy boost in donations at this year’s Canadian County Free Fair due to the generous donation of a dunk tank by the Oklahoma Environmental Management Authority (OEMA).

While the tank itself was donated by OEMA, the Canadian County 4-H Foundation also chipped-in $500 so 4-H teen leaders could paint the tank green and add the 4-H logo to the sides.

“A dunk tank is a chair that resides over a large tank of water,” Canadian County 4-H extension agent Todd Branson said. “Participants pay to throw balls at a bullseye that, when hit, will drop a volunteer into the icy water tank below.

“The advertised cost to toss a ball at the bullseye was $2 per pitch, $5 for three balls, $10 for seven balls, and $20 for the ‘umpire’s bribe,’ where the participant was able to pull a cord and release the seat.”

The result of an April 2023 fundraising brainstorm session by the Canadian County 4-H Volunteer Leaders Council, the dunk tank helped raise nearly $1,000 for future 4-H activities, events and initiatives.

The Canadian County 4-H Volunteer Leaders Council is a parent and volunteer organization comprised of certified 4-H volunteers in the county.

Council officers are President Bandi Oliphant, Vice President Lynda Landrith, Secretary Lora Turner, and Treasurer Rana Seymour.

A Canadian County Free Fair patron throws balls at the Canadian County 4-H dunk tank for a good cause – to support local youth.


“The council’s purpose of obtaining the dunk tank was to bring awareness to the 4-H program while adding a touch of fun for families – all while raising funds for local 4-Hers,” Branson said.

“Due to the extreme heat during the fair this year, none of the dunk tank volunteers seemed too upset about being cooled-off when a participant dunked them! A lot of the kids were excited to dunk their 4-H leader or one of the adults. Nearly our entire staff, and their spouses and family members – as well as some of the teen 4-H officers – took turns being dunked.

“I am overwhelmed at our county’s 4-H clubs, our OSU Extension staff and their family members for dedicating hours during the fair to make the experience spectacular,” Branson added. “A special thanks goes to Kyler Walton, Carissa Finnigan’s family and Jason Oliphant for dedicating extra time to raise funds for the many kids in 4-H programs across our county.”

In Canadian County, the traditional 4-H program membership is open to all youth ages 5-19 years-old as of Jan. 1 of the current year who meet membership guidelines.

Age groups include Cloverbuds, age 5-8 years-old; Juniors, age 9-13; and Seniors, age 14-18. Canadian County has traditional clubs in Union City, Banner, Yukon, Piedmont, Maple, Mustang, Calumet, and Riverside.

There also are specialized project clubs for local 4-H members:

Tuff Riders, Jackalope Riding Club and Ridge Riders 4-H clubs for horse riders, Canadian County Shotgun Club for shotgun shooting sports members, Canadian County Sharpshooters for archery fans, and the Canadian County Teen Leaders for teenagers interested in using 4-H to be philanthropically active in their communities.

This summer, 4-H teen leaders Alexis Haynes (left) and Kylie Detrick helped get the new Canadian County 4-H dunk tank ready for the 69th Annual Canadian County Free Fair with a coat of “4-H green” paint.