In an effort to increase the interest level for showing dairy heifers in 4-H in the Columbia Basin my good friend Jackie Ruppard, my husband Chris and myself set out on a mission to organize a full day of clipping, washing, feeding and showing demonstrations and hands-on learning opportunities.
Our event took place on the 14th of June and we were amazed at the turn-out we received for our very first year! With over seventy people in attendance including 4-Her’s, FFAer’s, parents and volunteers we were off to a great start! Eager kids and their parents or chaperones came from near and far arriving at the Grant County Fairgrounds by 8am. Some arrived with their animals in toe, others adopted heifers for the day from Dan Maur Farms.
We jumped right in with Chris giving a clipping demonstration, discussing equipment to use and give tips and pointers along the way. Before he even had his heifer half done the kids were already getting antsy to get practicing on their own heifers!
It was so special to walk around the dairy barn and see everyone so enthused and focused on their clipping skills. Most kids were determined to clip their heifer without any adult assistance! From the youngest 4Her to the oldest, each of them took advantage of this opportunity to develop their skills on blending hair, working on the belly and carving out top-lines.
Once their heifers were all clipped they were off to the wash rack to give their animals a good scrub before setting tops and heading off to the show ring.
A delicious bbq lunch was prepared by Jim and Trudy Kuntz (I didn’t get any pictures of lunchtime as I was chasing my chocolate milk covered 19 month old around!). During lunch we took a moment to watch a video on proper dairy animal handling techniques, had some great discussion about what to feed heifers and the importance of being a great dairy industry ambassador when spending time at the fair.
Then it was back to work to set toplines and get ready for a little showmanship competition!
When we first started talking about doing an event of this type we had a pile of wild ideas but we really didn’t know how exactly this was all going to go. With the help of some amazing sponsors which included: CRV, Select Sires, Semex, EPL Land o Lakes, Cargill, Kibbe Dairy Supply, Basin Feed & Supply, Ben Fesko, Korben Kosters, Barnyard Buddies 4H Club, Ran-Rue Holsteins, Ru-Ben Dairy, Jim & Trudy Kuntz, Dairygold Big R Stores and Dan Maur Farms. Without these sponsors we wouldn’t have been able to make this event as special as it was, giving away prizes, provide supplies and lunch. So a big hearty THANK YOU to those sponsors!
We awarded our top showperson in the Junior, Intermediate and Senior divisions with a bucket full of show prepping supplies. Our winners were as follows:
RJ Ruppard also won the overall fitting competition, so he was awarded a brand new set of clippers donated by CRV – Melissa Rusch.
I am just so excited that we had such a wonderful turnout and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves throughout the entire, very long day! Thank you to all of those who participated in some way or another. Can’t wait to do it again next year!