The Ponoka District Beef Committee held their 2023 4-H Show and Sale from May 8 to 9 at the Calnash Ag Event Centre.
It was an exciting year of growth for the organization, setting new sales records at the 2023 sale.
The show and sale is the year-end event that brings the East Club and the West Club together for one major event.
Last year the event saw 31 participants between the two clubs and this year saw 40.
Beef Committee president Patrick Lentz says that the kids embraced the event.
This year the average price per pound was a new record at $6.47/lb.
The charity steer was split between two winners: one from Blackfalds, and one from the Ponoka area. They will each receive half a steer, cut and wrapped.
The committee will donate the proceeds from the sale with half the money going to the food bank and the other half going to Old MacDonald Kennels.
Lentz says that it was nice to do the event in person this year, but that they also facilitated the use of online technology that had been used during COVID. Broadcasting the event over the internet opened it up to bidders from all over.
The increased exposure has also helped draw more attention to the clubs and has garnered the interest of even bigger sponsors.
He also credits the eight-member committee involved in the yearly planning. He says the member in charge of putting together the sponsorships has done an incredible job, and that the whole committee does excellent work.
The two days are filled with competitors who show their steers, with each one taking part in the competition in their age group. Each club also has its Grand Champion and Reserve Champion.
The East Club’s Grand Champion was Carter Gustafson, while the Reserve Champion was Zach Dux.
Cohen Thalen was the West Club’s Grand Champion, and Brody Marsh took the West Club’s reserve champion.
The 2023 Grand Champion was Seth Thalen, and the Reserve was Cohen Thalen.
Lentz notes it was a busy week for the club members. The Saturday before was their annual highway cleanup and then the two-day show and sale.
Lentz says that although the two clubs enjoy a bit of friendly competition, they are incredibly supportive of each other, and are quick to point out the steers of other competitors and talk them up a bit when the chance arises.
Lentz says the event can be quite emotional for participants. They spend between 208 to 211 days feeding their steer, walking it, grooming it, and making sure that it’s well taken care of and then have to cope with selling it at the end of the season.
There is also the high cost of feed involved in raising a steer, and the money earned at the yearly event certainly helps.
Lentz has been involved in 4-H for roughly five years now and says that the organization is incredibly grateful to the community.
They appreciate the support they get before, during, and after the show and sale.
The participants enjoy being able to work in the community and share their experiences with sponsors, and their friends, he said.