Barn Contest

Barn Keepers annual student contest, celebrates Corn Belt

Every spring, Barn Keepers partners with McLean County 4-H / University of Illinois Extension to host a contest celebrating the multi-generational connections to Corn Belt farming and its historically priceless old barns. 

We want 4-H youth to share the story of a McLean County barn.  Look for details here, in the spring of 2022! The contest is open to students ages 8 to 18. First, the student identifies an adult (such as a grandparent, friend of the family, neighbor) who has knowledge of a McLean County Barn.

To be eligible for the contest, the barn must have been constructed at least fifty years ago. Next, the student researches about the barn — including conducting an interview with that adult, and possibly others,  to learn more about the barn’s unique history.


  • Projects must be submitted in a three-ring binder.
  • Projects can include photographs, copies of plat map sections showing the barn, a brief written history, and other supporting materials.
  • First Prize is $100. Second prize gets $75, and third prize $50.  Projects are judged by a committee of Barn Keepers board members.
  • Entries should be submitted by July 1.
  • Barn Keepers then displays the prize winners at our information table during the McLean County 4-H Fair.
  • Questions about contest: Please contact Barn Keepers board member Ron Ropp at

Images from Ashley Miller’s 2019 first-place entry on Jo Morrison’s “Old Rugged Barn” outside of Towanda.