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Four States Agricultural Exposition a Family Affair

Story by Robyn Scherer, M.Agr. | Kiowa, Colo.
Courtesy Photos
This is a bull that sold at the Saturday bull and heifer show.

Each March, hundreds of participants travel from many sates to attend the Four States Agricultural Exposition. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn about ranch management, horse skills, equipment, products, services and overall education. The event will be held at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds, in Cortez, Colo., from March 14-17, 2013.

“The Four States Ag Expo is a family event. It is a great place to come and just spend time with your family. We offer something for everyone of all ages,” said Dusty Beals, President of the Four States Agricultural Exposition.

There will be several clinicians at the expo. “We have an outstanding lineup of clinicians for the public. Aaron Ralston, Ty Jones and Glenn Ryan are our horse clinicians. Cathy Sumeracki will be our stock dog clinician. Kenny Russell from Poplarville, Miss., and The Four Corners Draft Horse Mule and Carriage Association will head up our draft horse department,” said Beals.

Aaron Ralston, from Western Colorado, is a proven all around horseman. Aaron grew up rodeoing and ranching and now trains and teaches many disciplines, ranging from reined cow horses, reining, roping, versatility, colt starting and more.

“We are excited to welcome back Aaron Ralston. Join us in March and meet the 2011 NRCHA World Qualifier at the show,” Beals said.

He continued, “Through his knowledge and experiences, Aaron brings a positive method of explaining how and why he gets results, he teaches the rider and gives them the ‘tools’ to achieve their own results. Aaron will work with riders of any discipline that want to improve and diversify their riding.”

Ty Jones, from Flagstaff, Ariz., will also be giving clinics. Jones spent most of his youth wondering from stable to stable, and ranch to ranch, searching for horses to ride. Needless to say, most of what he wound up riding was young colts or horses with issues.

Much of what Jones began to learn came from local trainers and ranch-hands. “At first, I thought they didn’t want to lend a hand, and then I realized that they didn’t know anything about horses. That’s when I took the horse journey,” Jones said.

Today, most of what Jones applies towards horsemanship involves a straightforward, common sense approach that allows insight into horse behavior and ultimately the goal of partnership. In addition to conducting clinics and demonstrations, Jones will travel to horse owner’s homes to help clients with their horses and is known to take on tough challenges.

National Forest Service packer Glenn Ryan will demonstrate how he uses mules. Calling on his life, living on remote ranches in northern California and his career as a Government Packer, Ryan demonstrations are full of useful packing tips and colorful stories of his 30 years as a government packer. In the packing field, Ryan stands out in that he teaches work related packing techniques and not recreational packing. Working with trail crews and back country volunteers, Ryan has developed a five-day packing clinic:

Ryan combines his vast experience as a government packer with a stimulating presentation style. He has worked with thousands of students, and has developed packing classes that offer hands-on, skill building knowledge of livestock packing.

Cathy Sumeracki will give a presentation with her stock dogs. Sumeracki began herding in 2005 after getting a rescue Border Collie; Midge. Despite attempts at agility, Midge insisted on herding. Midge and Sumeracki met with and saw Dawna’s training methods. Sumeracki vowed to articulate those methods so herding training was clearer to the dogs and handlers. Sumeracki co-founded the ICE Training program with Dawna Sims. Sumeracki follows the ICE principles in her training and at her dog training facility in New River, AZ, an ICE certified training facility. Sumeracki works with all breeds.

Beals said, “Her classes are known for their high energy and fun format. Cathy’s teaching philosophy is the more you laugh, the more you learn.”

Kenny Russell was raised in a family of horsemen. Growing up, Kenny learned the art of draft horse farming from his father Raymond, who farmed his whole life and never owned a tractor. In 1978, Kenny and Renee purchased their farm, located near Poplarville, Miss., and began farming with their Belgian and Percheron draft horses. Everything that they did in setting up and building their farming operation was done so that they could use horse power for their farming needs.

The Four Corners Draft Horse, and Mule Carriage Association will also attend the expo. The association is dedicated to encouraging the use of draft animals for work and pleasure by supporting training, displays and events associated with draft horses, mules and donkeys.

Draft animal power on farms and ranches declined for several decades after World War II in the United States. However, during the 1970s, interest in driving animals began to increase both as a hobby and as a viable alternative to mechanical power in agriculture and forestry. Today, new draft powered equipment is being manufactured, driven by demand from the growing number of Amish communities and small-scale, environmentally concerned farmers.

“We are collaborating with Four Corners Draft Horse, and Mule Carriage Association for this year’s show. Members will present a Draft Powered Tillage demonstration and parade on Saturday, March 16,” Beals said.

The Driving Draft Horse Workshop, scheduled on March 14 and 15 will provide participants with both practical instruction and hands-on experience with draft horses. Topics include harness and collar fitting, keeping both teamsters and animals safe while working, hitching to wagons and farm equipment and setting up multiple horse hitches. Seminars will run approximately 90 minutes each, with time allotted for questions and answers.

A cattle sale will be held in conjunction with the expo. “Our Bull and Heifer sale is in its fifth year, and always brings a crowd. Buyers and visitors alike will find top quality bulls and heifers of all breeds at the Four States Ag Expo, for building and improving your herd,” Beals stated.

There will also be seminars held throughout the expo. “Last not but not least, we have our Grange Hall. We bring in speakers every year from all over the four states to offer their knowledge on different topics of agriculture. This is a great place for the newly ordained farmer or rancher to the seasoned pro to come and learn from their neighbors and experts. It doesn’t matter if you own five acres or 5,000 acres, you will learn something from the Grange Hall presenters,” he said.

He added, “Part of the Grange is the Ag Summit. This is where we bring in our local state Senators and Representatives to report to the ag community on what they are working on.”

The Four States Agricultural Exposition is a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide a forum for agricultural producers, suppliers and consumers in the Four States Region. Showcasing new agricultural technology, the annual Ag Expo show offers innovative ideas and advancing effective production and marketing of traditional, specialized and alternative agricultural products through education, demonstrations and promotion. ❖


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