2021 Republic County YEC Awards

Republic County, KS – Republic County Economic Development, in association with the Network Kansas E-Community Partnership, hosted the 5th annual Republic County Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge Tuesday, March 2nd virtually.  Thirteen teams made up of twenty-three students competed from Republic County and Pike Valley High schools. 

Eighteen judges from the county and region volunteered to score the projected digitally. Student business ideas were judged on three items: a three-page executive summary, a four-minute presentation, and a marketing flyer. The winner of the local competition earns an automatic bid for the State YEC at KSU April 27th, 2021. Other students can apply for a bid to state through a wildcard selection process.

Also on display during the presentation were art projects by RCHS and PVHS art students who created a piece that featured a Republic County entrepreneur. This was possible thanks to a Network Kansas grant for $250 for supplies to celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week in November.

Entrepreneur Speaker

To give the students a perspective of a younger entrepreneur in the county Waylon Sheetz owner of Sheetz & Suds on the historic downtown square in Belleville was the featured speaker. Sheetz is a Belleville native and graduate of Republic County High School. His full-time job is as director of the Belleville Chamber & Main Street has provided insights as to the value of downtown preservation and his project was inspired by the desire to needs of the community. His project is proof that entrepreneurship can look different than a typical 8 – 5 position and there are many creative ways to invest in and serve your community.

Sheetz noted he received assistance from RCED in making connections to an existing laundromat in Cottonwood Falls, Kansas that restored a historic building as well. He also had assistance with RCED by taking the Small Business Classes taught by LRS Consulting which prepared him for the Republic County Revolving Loan application. The array of support from the community and partners assisted the project despite opening during a pandemic.

Sheetz & Suds is open 24/7 featuring eight washers and eight dryers. Offering a clean and bright atmosphere with WiFi and takes quarters. Follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sheetzandsuds.


  • Blondie’s Events & Planning – Halle Hartner and Julia Blazek – RCHS
  • Bre and Sage Phone Cases – Breanna Reeves and Sage Preston – RCHS
  • C-N-Z – Cory Beck, Noah Vacek, and Zyden Robison – PVHS
  • CM Fencing – Johs Martin and Tate Callaway – PVHS
  • Cafe Fiore – Jordan Russell – PVHS
  • Erica’s Cookie Creations – Erica Sublett – PVHS
  • Fresh Eats – Katelyn Kraus and Kaylee Bray – PVHS
  • Fruit Fest – Erika Schultz and Kelsa Wendt – RCHS
  • Great Plains Prospects – Jaren Aurand – PVHS
  • NCK Drone Services – Aaron Barton, Carter White, and Nicole Popelka – RCHS
  • Panther Reprocessing – Josiah Field – PVHS
  • Salvage Duds – Brylee Judy and Paige Waite – RCHS
  • Wonderfully Made – Carolina Barraza – PVHS


1st Place – $750

Wonderfully Made

*Automatic qualifier for the State YEC competition at KSU*

2nd Place – $500

Blondies Events & Planning
Halle Hartner & Julia Blazek

3rd Place – $250

Erica’s Cookie Creations
Erica Sublett

4th Place – $100

Fresh Eats
Kaylee Bray & Katelyn Kraus

5th Place
Chamber Bucks – $50

Cafe Fiore
Jordan Russell

Best Marketing Award – $150 

Wonderfully Made
Carolina Barraza

People’s Choice Awards

1st – Blondies Events & Planning – Halle Hartner & Julia Blazek $125
2nd – Salvage Duds – Brylee Judy & Paige Waite – $75
3rd – Cafe Fiore – Jordan Russell – $50

Marketing Flyers

Click to enlarge.

Video Presentations