After months of work caring for steers and heifers, 4-H Beef Club members came together for their big achievement day.
Heifers and cow-calf pairs were shown March 1 and the big auction day for the steers was the next day at the Ponoka County Heritage Stables at the Calnash Ag Event Centre.
For beef club president James Hagemann, the event is all for the members who learn about caring for cattle from birth to sale.
“They’ve been on feed this year for 204 days, plus all the rest of the work that comes with it,” explained Hagemann.
Ultimately the youths have a chance to learn about raising heifers and steers and gain knowledge in showmanship and grooming for achievment days. “It’s your finishing event to enjoy your seven months of work.”
The day can be bitter sweet for the members who spend countless hours caring for their projects. At the same time it allows them a chance to take the money from the sale for future plans.
“They are very attached to their calves,” said Hagemann.
For the projects the youths gain valuable knowledge in feeding and care, which ends up helping with the animals coat finish. In addition to the calf project, youths get school credits for the work they do in 4-H, said Hagemann. “They actually get credits in high school for 4-H,” he added.
Each year the beef clubs come together with a raffle for a charity steer. Each year they pick a new recipient and for 2017 the money from the fundraiser goes to the Halvar Johnson Centre for Brain Injury.
Wendy Sheppard helped the members through the process and she said it gave the east, west and central clubs a chance to sit down and discuss where they felt the money should go. “It was a huge hit with the kids.”
“They thought that it’s local (and) it helps the community,” said Sheppard.
The beef club raises the steer, members all sell the raffle tickets and it gives them a chance to give back to the community. Full fundraising details of the steer were not available at press time.
With the achievement days also comes a chance to show off the projects in front of judges. This gives members an opportunity to assess themselves against previous years.
This year Marissa Weleschuk, a former 4-H member, judged projects and members on showmanship and grooming. “We’re really looking at the work they’ve put in since September.”
“So getting those calves trained. Working with their hair,” explained Weleschuk.
She added that stance and placing within the judging ring could be the difference from a banner or not. “You’re always watching with how you place the feet.”
Weleschuck praised the members for their continued growth and improvement these past months. Despite the amount of work, she said the overall presentations were of high calibre.
“It’s amazing to see how much progress they’ve made,” she added.