The Western Park Complex hosted the annual Uintah Basin Junior Livestock Show this week.
Although the 4-H youth program offers a huge variety of activities and courses, it is best known for agricultural programs. Children learn the value of hard work, tenacity, and patience as they engage in various activities in the plant and animal sciences.
The Junior Livestock Show is the culmination of many 4-H students’ efforts as they show farm animals they have raised to a panel of judges and potential buyers.
“I’ve been in 4-H for seven years now, but I’ve been showing since I was five,” says Kylie Kunzler, 15, who brought market lambs one day and a steer the next.
Kunzler explains that judges are looking for the quality of the animal, how structurally correct it is, fat to meat ratio, and how well a participant works with the animal in the show ring. Showing an animal is a team sport, showing how well you bonded with them and trained them.
“You have to start when they’re little,” says Kunzler. “You have them on a halter, you touch them, you’re always doing something with them. It’s everyday work. It’s not like you have a day off. You’re feeding them day and night, working with them two times a day. You teach them how to show.”
Most of the animals will sell by the end of the event, though participants have the option of pulling the animals from the sale to show them at another competition or keep them for breeding stock.
“It’s not about the money,” Kunzler says. “Winning is the goal. It’s the experience.” She explained that the cost of raising the animal might outweigh the price they get when they sell it. “The best part of 4-H are the friendships that you make and the skills you learn.”
Anyone wishing to get involved in the 4-H program can talk to their school about programs there or check with the USU Extension. You can also find 4-H online at www.4-h.org.