Airdrie and Rocky View kids shine at 4-H on Parade
By: Andrew Szekeres
| Posted: Thursday, Jun 05, 2014 06:00 am
More than 40 4-H clubs descended onto the Calgary Stampede grounds from May 30 to June 1 for the 4-H on Parade.
The 4-H Alberta section began in 1917. According to their mandate, 4-H gives urban and rural youth life-long skills in co-operation, leadership, critical-thinking, decision-making, public speaking and community service.
More than 650 participants province-wide came to 4-H on Parade with their focus on life skills and animals such as livestock and domestic. Members ages ranged from nine to 21.
The parade is a three-day event for the groups to come together and display the work they have been doing over the past year. There were nearly 800 projects done through various events that included the animals, an auction of photography and paintings, display of life skill projects such as small engine and welding, to other projects like cake decorating and horse stall decorations.
“It’s a good experience,” said Steven Sinclair, a member of the Airdrie 4-H Club for five years. “You make friends and you learn a lot.”
Many of the participants were tasked to raise livestock including weighing, trimming and showmanship of cattle and sheep.
There are also horses and canine categories that teach the care, treatment and showmanship of the animals.
Sinclair and his friend, Brady Bezjack both competed for the Airdrie 4-H Club. Bezjack competed in the sheep category, while Sinclair competed in the market steer category.
Bezjack, who came first and second in a sheep and lamb judging event, said being a member of 4-H isn’t just about the animals.
“There are life skills like quilting, welding and other things. You don’t need an animal to join,” Bezjack said.
Aiden Kiernan of the Crossfield-Madden club competed in the beef category.
His steer, Lightning was an eight-month-old, 830-pound (lbs) animal when he first started to take care of him. Now Lightning – named for a mark on his face shaped like a lightning bolt – weighs in an impressive 1,387 lbs.
“It was fun raising Lightning,” Kiernan said. “But I don’t like selling him, but it’s all part of it.”
At the 4-H on Parade, the participants in the market steer or sheep category show off the livestock they were responsible for raising.
The livestock are then judged before being auctioned off on the final day. Heifers are part of the breeding program, while steers such as Lightning are auctioned off for beef.
Kiernan finished fourth last year and had hopes to finish higher. But Kiernan doesn’t feel that the awards are the main learning experience of 4-H.
“What I learned the most is co-operation with other people and how to work better overall,” Kiernan said.
The Irricana 4-H Club had a few winners in the market lamb category.
Sierra Wise won best in show for her lamb, Lady.
At just 12, Wise has competed for three years for 4-H in market sheep, equestrian and photography.
“I didn’t know I was going to win it,” Wise said.
“There were some really good market sheep here.”
This was Wise’s second year competing with sheep. She also had a photo selling in the silent auction.
Wise’s friend, Josh Wade was also competing in the market sheep category. For his efforts, Wade won first place in his category.
“I really didn’t expect to win it,” Wade said.
“When the guy was coming around, I thought I’d be last.”
“I didn’t realize I won until my mom came over to me.”
Josh’s mother Tricia was happy to see the two youth win.
“These two deserved it,” Tricia said.
“They’re out there everyday for hours taking care of the sheep.”
For Wade and Wise, the satisfaction came from all the hard work they did.
“You have so much to do in 4H, but mostly it’s fun,” Josh Wade said. “If you’re having fun, that’s what it’s all about.”
“Fun is all that 4-H is,” Wise added.
“Even if you lose, you still had fun.”