At age 14, Michelle Carter is one of NWSS’s success stories
by Catherine Werner
Fort Lupton, Colo.
Michelle Carter and her mother, Gayelynne Duggan, proudly stand with “Elway,” Michelle’s 2001 Catch-A-Calf.
Photo by Catherine Werner
Since birth, Michelle Carter has had asthma and extreme allergic reactions to animals with hair. Over the years, under a doctor’s care, she has learned how to manage her condition. Nonetheless, animals with hair have not been a part of her life.
Michelle started in 4-H showing swine when she was age 8. Despite her asthma she entered the 2001 National Western Stock Show 4-H Catch-A-Calf contest.
Eight calves are released during the five Stock Show rodeo performances with 16 4-H qualifiers hot on their heels. Calves are purchased by sponsors and given to the successful contestants at a later date to raise for market. Michelle caught her calf and for the first time became the owner of a 600-pound animal with hair and a new 4-H project.
On May 12, 2001, Michelle and her family arrived at the National Western Stock Show Complex at exactly 7 a.m. to pick up her calf. Theirs was the seventh vehicle in line to receive an animal, Michelle was the seventh participant on the list, the family was assigned to sit at table number seven, and the big black baldy calf had a number seven on his ear tag. Incidentally, Michelle is also a Bronco fan, so it seemed to Michelle that the only possible name for the calf was “Elway.”
Michelle and Elway returned this January to the 2002 National Western Stock Show’s Catch-A-Calf Contest, along with last year’s 41 participants. Weighing 1,256 pounds, the steer placed fourth in the Production Phase, where he was judged on height, weight, leanness and readiness for market. He took third in the Market Class. Michelle was judged to be one of the top four overall showmen. She also received the Herdsmanship Award and placed sixth for the accuracy of her record book.
The ninth grade Legacy High student plans to continue showing cattle in 4-H and become a member of the 4-H judging team. Upon graduation, she will study veterinary science at Colorado State University. Michelle is an honor student with a 3.8 grade point average and a member of the Adams County High Corral 4-H Club.
No, the allergy and asthma problems have not gone away. Heart and desire placed Michelle’s love of animals above her physical problems to make her one of the 2002 National Western Stock Show success stories.