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Clinic Teaches 4-H’ers New Show Skills

 

Curt Russell Aids Colbie Bruna with his steer in Showmanship on Saturday

 

LAS ANIMAS –A team of show livestock “professors” aided area youth on Saturday, June 2 during a “Stock Show University” at the Bent County Fairgrounds in Las Animas.

Southeast Colorado youth and their parents all got an education about daily hair care, clipping, show-day grooming, and showmanship for their 4-H and FFA beef projects at the annual event coordinated by WW Feed & Supply.

Mike Cone of Portales, NM, and his children Koby and Kaly, both experienced showmen who now attend Oklahoma State University, provided demonstrations and hands-on learning. The free Stock Show U began at the wash rack, with daily hair care lessons.

Chad Russell and Colbie Bruna

As the morning shifted into showmanship, the Cone family, along with assistance from WW Feed & Supply’s Curt, Susan and Chad Russell, helped correctly position each youth and their animals. Novices learned where to stand relative to their calf, how to best hold their hands and showstick, where to place their steer’s feet, and even how to safely slow down a too-eager animal that greatly outweigh them.

Older 4-H and FFA members were encouraged to “be invisible. The best showman is the one you don’t see. Don’t distract. Your goal is to focus the judge’s attention on your calf,” Cone said. With youth on the halter, the showmanship line of animals impressively stretched the entire length of the Bent County Fairground’s pavilion. After a few adjustments and tips, the line switched to profile and the youth walked their animals. By the final lap around the ring, parents murmured on the sidelines about the visible skill improvement.

The third session was clipping. Cone first used chalk on the hide of Caitlin Provost’s steer to show where to clip and why. “Clip the high spots and leave the low spots. Make a box then round off the edges,” Cone began. As the professor trio worked, they transformed the steer’s appearance. Parents and youth alike came up to feel and closely examine their handiwork before being sent to their own chute and calf. Each youth then clipped, as experts made the rounds to aid each family with one-on-one time.

In addition to the hands-on lessons, the professors fielded questions from those eager to learn, and wrapped up the day with a show-day grooming demonstration. Cone reminded the crowd that each animal is different, but the goal is always to enhance the strengths and downplay the weaknesses. Again, armed with grooming supplies, the Cone siblings transformed the demonstration steer into a show-ready animal. Youth were encouraged to practice. “You win at home. You’re just acknowledged in the show ring,” Kaly Cone said.

Interspersed in the lessons, animals were weighed on the fairground’s official scale, and RJ Kerchal of Calhan trimmed the hooves on beef projects needing his expertise. Bent County 4-H Council offered lunch to participants, and WW Feed & Supply set up a temporary satellite store for participants.

WW Feed & Supply offered its first Steer-Aid Clinic in 2008 and Sullivan Supply began its Stock Show U program in 2010. They are annually merged into a single event in southeast Colorado, as a way to “give back” and help educate youth. Highlights are on wwfeed.com or on www.facebook.com/WWFeedSupply.

WW Feed & Supply media release

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