Weld County Bucket Calf Shows gives youngsters a jump-start | TheFencePost.com

Weld County Bucket Calf Shows gives youngsters a jump-start

Samantha Lanning snuggles her bucket calf prior to the show.
Photo by Rachel Gabel

Bill and Marge Frank, Hudson, Colo., watched a bucket calf show at the Sedgwick County Fair and knew the Weld County Fair in Greeley, Colo., needed a bucket calf show to highlight the young kids, ages 3-8, who would be coming through the ranks of the 4-H program in the coming years.

In 1984, the inaugural year, their granddaughter, Tami (Norgren) Arnold showed her first bucket calf. In 2018, the fair’s 100th year, their great-granddaughter, Mesa Arnold, showed a bucket calf and they were able to attend both shows and all of the shows in between.

Bill Frank spent a number of years on the Weld County Fair Board, serving in various capacities and officer positions. He was also one of the founding members of the Weld County 4-H Foundation, which has benefitted the county’s 4-H members since its inception.

In 1984, the bucket calf show was well-attended and judged by Stow Witwer, a local land use attorney well-known in the agricultural community.

“In the early years, there were huge classes and then five or six years ago, the numbers were down to a dozen or so and now it’s exploded again,” Arnold said.


There were years, according to Arnold, that some members of the fair board wanted to do away with the show. In the style typical of her grandfather, Frank fought to keep the show and succeeded.

“They wanted to give kids that were younger a way to be involved in the program,” she said. “There are a lot of kids in the 4-H program showing cattle that started showing bucket calves. It’s definitely a jump starter for kids for their showing career.”

The show includes both beef and dairy calves, highlighting both sides of the industry that are integral to Weld County agriculture’s past and present.

This year, about 40 youngsters exhibited their bucket calves in the show, each receiving a bucket filled with prizes after a visit with the announcer, Mike Olearnik.

Hannah Dreiling, who spent six years on the fair board, organizes the event down to the contents of each bucket. Her granddaughter will be old enough to show a bucket calf next summer, which is fitting after Dreiling’s years spent as a 4-H mom, leader, and finally a board member coordinating the show.

“It’s a fun show,” she said. “Everybody comes away happy. It’s a nice, little start.” ❖

— Gabel is an assistant editor and reporter for The Fence Post. She can be reached at rgabel@thefencepost.com or (970) 392-4410.


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