Clinic in Rocky Ford teaches 4-Hers new show skills
ROCKY FORD — A team of show livestock “professors” aided area youth June 11-12 during a multi-species Stock Show University.
Southeast Colorado youth and their parents all got an education about clipping, show day grooming and showmanship for their 4-H and FFA projects at the annual event coordinated by WW Feed & Supply.
This year’s clinic was expanded to four projects, with swine kicking off Saturday morning. Zeke Foster’s pigs provided a visual example for professor Tyler Gradert of Illinois, who explained techniques while 4-H’ers demonstrated proper showing skills. Gradert emphasized the three W’s – wash, walk and weigh. Washing and other daily skin care help keep an animal healthy, walk to train your pig to be ring-ready as well as for exercise and weigh not only feed for proper intake, but weigh the animal itself so that you can reach your goals.
The clinic shifted to sheep projects for its second session. Professors Demi Powers of Ohio and Codi Englert of Montana used lambs provided by Deanna Russell to actually allow 4-H’ers to practice setting up and bracing lambs. The young participants took turns to refine their showing skills. In addition to the hands-on lessons, the two professors discussed goals, daily care and exercise tips, plus fielded questions from those eager to learn.
The third session was on goats, where senior 4-H’er Jakob Juul used Ashlyn Alvey and Molly Tate’s goats to illustrate points about the goat project. Tate’s goat was partially clipped before the crowd, creating questions and interaction from youth and parents alike, as it was transformed in appearance. Other members also brought their goat to the Arkansas Valley Fairgrounds for the clinic, so all participants got hands-on practice, as they learned to properly brace and move around a show ring.
The fourth project was beef. Heifers and steers also arrived Saturday afternoon, with the opening lessons on washing and clipping. Professor Casey St. Blanc of Montana was the lead in this section of WW Feed & Supply’s two-day clinic. Before starting to clip on Saturday night, St. Blanc evaluated Kaden Humrich’s steer and chalked “no cut” zones onto the hide, then used clippers and other fitting tools to enhance the strengths and downplay the weaknesses of the crossbred calf.
The beef portion resumed early Sunday, with St. Blanc pulling Kalley Crouch’s Hereford heifer into the demonstration chute. He then began the grooming process. After transforming her heifer into a show-ready appearance, each beef participant was sent to his/her own chute and calf, and tried to replicate the clipping and grooming steps.
All professors, plus coordinators Curtis and Chad Russell of WW Feed & Supply, gave several hours of one-on-one time to each beef participant and calf.
Interspersed in the beef lessons on Sunday, Rod Kerchal of Peyton trimmed the hooves on beef projects arriving from western Kansas and southeast Colorado. All weekend, Otero County 4-H Council offered meals to the crowd and WW Feed & Supply set up a temporary satellite store for participants.
Sunday wrapped up with beef showmanship. Bent-Prowers Cattle & Horse Growers Association provided cash prizes for the event based on skill level. Erin Wright won the veteran showmanship division and Kaden Humrich placed first in the novice division. ❖