Minitonas 4-H Celebrates 63 Years at Annual Show & Sale

Submitted by: Ione Anderson | The Minitonas 4-H Beef Club celebrated 63 years with the annual show and sale on Saturday, May 26, 2018 at the Swan Valley Ag Grounds.

Preparations for the show started last fall when members selected their projects and weights and animal identification was recorded in December. Over the feeding period members were in charge of caring for their projects on a daily basis, including feeding, watering, providing shelter and eventually training them to lead.

Set up for the event took place last Wednesday with families working hard to whip the fair grounds into a cattle show and sale facility. 54 head arrived beginning at noon on Friday and weigh in took place at 4:30 pm. Members set up their stalls and got their projects settled. Early Saturday morning the barns were a beehive of activity with members feeding, washing and grooming.

After opening the show at 10:00 am with Oh Canada and the 4-H Pledge and Motto, the first year members entered the ring for showmanship. Cloverbud showmanship and a calf class followed before the female portion of the show began. We had 6 heifer, 3 continuation (last years heifer projects with calves) and 3 mature (prior year 4-H projects with calves) projects. Champion female class was selected by Cody Lafrentz, a Kansas State University student from Benfait, Saskatchewan. He did a great job all day of selecting the cattle and talking to the members. The morning concluded with the dads presenting a class of market steers for the members to judge.

The Swan River Kinsmen Club served up a delicious offering for lunch at their booth on the grounds and then the afternoon part of the show started with the showmanship and grooming classes. These classes provide an opportunity for members to showcase their skills at presenting their animals as opposed to the confirmation classes that are based on the attributes of the animals itself. The steer show followed with the lightweight and heavyweight classes. The championship steer class included the top two animals from each division and the winner has the honor of displaying the trophy for the entire year. It is the “Stanley Cup” of the show and carries the names of members sharing the honor of raising the champion since 1954, when the tradition began. The show concludes with the pen of three and family pair. Eleven families filled the ring to the maximum a sight we haven’t seen since the seventies.

Just prior to the sale, champion rate of gain was awarded to the steer gaining the most over the feeding period. This year the highest gain was 616 lbs from December 1 to May 25. The Doug Anderson Herdsman award was presented and two individuals Doug Glasscock and Bruce Staniland were recognized as members in the early years of the show. Randy Hart did a great job of auctioning the steers. Buyers had pictures taken with the members and steers and the club sponsored a appreciation barbeque immediately following the sale.

The steers will be processed over the next two weeks and a Carcass competition will be held at Valley Meat Packers, allowing the animals to be evaluated against the Canadian beef grading guidelines. The members will have a wind up barbeque to finish of the 4-H year where their project books are evaluated and recognition for years of enrollment is awarded. Although the summer is considered down time for the club, the members gather again during the North West Round Up and Exhibition to assist with the “Down on the Farm” display – their contribution to the community and appreciation to the SV Ag Society for allowing the club to utilize the grounds for the show and sale. Members will check their pastures over the summer keeping their eye out for the “perfect” projects for the upcoming year.

The club and families recognize the importance of community support in the success of the 4-H program. Without the buyers, sponsors and help from the many volunteers this unique agriculture experience would not exist. Across the country many communities similar to ours embrace the beef program and encourage youth to pursue a career in agriculture and become leaders wherever they call home. Our community is no different and for this we are very grateful. These young beef producers are the future of the Swan River Valley.

Minitonas 4-H Beef Club