Steer showcase wraps up milestone year for finished beef show

Matt Gardner
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The 83rd Annual 4-H Regional Finished Beef Show and Sale came to an end on Monday with members showing off their prize steers following Sunday’s heifer, cow and younger calf showcase.

Representatives of Mont St. Joseph Home and Moker and Thompson Implements, flanked by steer handler Shaelyn Grassick (holding rope), stand behind the 2013 charity steer at the end of the 83rd Annual 4-H Regional Finished Beef Show and Sale. Repeated donations from local businesses resulted in $19,700 being raised for Mont St. Joseph.

Approximately 150 4-H members ranging in age from six to 21 congregated at the Prince Albert Exhibition Centre for this year’s event, which coincided with the 100th anniversary of 4-H in Canada and the 130th anniversary of the P.A. Ex as the oldest continuing Agriculture Society in Saskatchewan.

Nearly a thousand family members, spectators, buyers and sponsors also attended over the weekend.

One of Canada’s longest-running youth organizations, 4-H is dedicated to the promotion of life skills and learning among young people in a variety of fields.

“It was specifically originally designed for children that lived on farms, but now it’s broadened its horizons to any type of project that the kids want,” P.A. Ex assistant manager Patty Soloducha explained.

“These kids that are involved in this 4-H program are dealing with the beef industry, and the 4 Hs stand for Head, Heart, Health and Hands.”

Seven area clubs were represented at this year’s show and sale, including Canwood, Choiceland, the Red River Roping and Riding Club (RRRR), Spruce Home, Wild Rose, West P.A. and Weldon.

Clubs are organized in the fall and have meetings throughout the year. During the September-October period, members choose their projects for the forthcoming year. A project can consist of a steer, heifer or cow/calf, which the member will feed and raise throughout the year.

The finished beef show and sale represents the members’ final show of the year, during which they display their animals to judges who rate the cattle in a variety of categories.

“For the cows, you’re looking for a cow that looks nice … but also, she’s got to be a nice, wide cow,” Soloducha said.

“It’s hard to explain unless you’re looking at an animal, but appearance is less of an attribute when you’re judging steers, because obviously they’re for meat. So you’re looking for something that maybe isn’t as pretty, but it’s finished and solid and thick and deep.”

Garret Feige of Wild Rose 4-H Beef Club rode to victory in the show this year as his animal was named grand champion in the female angus yearling heifer category. A Simmental breed belonging to Litney Curran of RRRR 4-H Multiple Club also became reserve grand champion in the female three-year-old Simmental cow/calf pair category.

Appearance is less of an attribute when you’re judging steers, because obviously they’re for meat. Patty Soloducha

New additions to the show and sale for 2013 included the Minute to Win It and Barnyard Olympics event, which consisted of 10 different activities related to beef or farm life that 4-H members would have to perform in under one minute.

The activities involved tools or articles that the youth would be familiar with from the farm. Clean The Barn, for example, involved emptying a Kleenex box into a feed tub as if members were performing the titular task.

“There weren’t any cattle involved in them,” Soloducha said. “But it’s all … things that they use to groom or fit or show their animals -- so water pails, feed tubs, show canes, all that kind of stuff that they would use on a daily basis when they’re dealing with their steer, heifer or cow/calf project.”

Rounding out Monday was Charity 2013. For the last 11 years, proceeds from the sale of a charity steer at the finished beef show and sale have gone towards benevolent causes.

This year’s charity of choice was the Mont St. Joseph Home, which received $19,700 after repeated bids by multiple organizations -- starting with agriculture equipment dealer Moker & Thompson Implements -- for the charity steer.

Another steer, previously owned by Davidner’s Clothing & Western and the P.A. Co-op, was put back on sale to raise money for Children’s Haven, a charity favoured by the former establishment’s late owner.

“Apparently Herschel Davidner was quite partial to Children’s Haven,” Canwood Beef Club leader Ken Aiken said.

“They brought the steer back in, put him back through the auction again, he sold for $4,250 again to E & B Lumber out of Shellbrook, and that money will be donated from that steer to the Children’s Haven.”

Since the charity steer tradition first began, area 4-H clubs have raised more than $75,000 for local charities.

Organizations: P.A. Co, Prince Albert Exhibition Centre, Agriculture Society Red River Roping and Riding Club RRRR Litney Curran of RRRR 4-H Multiple Club Canwood Beef Club

Geographic location: Canada, Saskatchewan, Canwood Wild Rose Shellbrook

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