The 4-H showing season is now in full swing! As of April 30, the eight 4-H members of Udderly Crazy 4-H Club have each been assigned projects for the upcoming 2015 season! Each member is guaranteed to have one show heifer if they are interested in attending the 4-H shows. We currently do not have any members without a project calf, but we would be welcoming to anyone that is only interested in the other events such as quiz bowl and judging!
All of the project heifers have been moved to the “show barn”. At the show barn, the members have easy access to a space to lead and bathe their heifers. They are expected to work with their heifers as much as possible; preferably three to five days a week. 4-H members not only learn how to care for their animal and prepare it for a show, but they also learn about record keeping. Record Books track goals, management practices, health events, expenses, growth, lactation, breeding and calving, production, show results among other things as well.
Our 4-H year actually begins every October. Our first event of the year is the Dairy Challenge at UVM in November. For this event 4-Hers attend various workshops completing a quiz after each one. This is a great start to the year as it covers many different aspects of the dairy cattle project.
In December our Club enjoys caroling at a local nursing home, where they bring handmade ornaments as gifts!
Quiz Bowl is the next event of the year, our County Quiz Bowl is held in February and our State Quiz Bowl is held in March. These events use a lockout buzzer system and 4-Hers must be the first to “buzz-in”, and answer the question. This is a fun way for the kids to show their knowledge.
In April, we focus on assigning projects to all the members and they begin working with their heifers.
We just attended the Orleans County Judging Workshop on May 9th. This workshop will teach 4-Hers the ins and outs of Judging, it will be set up like a contest but will be a learning opportunity for the kids. This year the official was, Fairmont’s own, Ricky Hall. Ricky was on the Cornell University 2011 Top National Intercollegiate Dairy Cattle Judging Team, after graduation Ricky was a classifier for Holstein Association USA for 2 years before coming back to Fairmont Farm. He is a great asset for the 4-Hers to learn from! After the Judging Workshop our 4-H Club will participate in State Dairy Judging in June. For this contest, 4-Hers are asked to place a class of four animals. They are graded by how closely their results align with the officials. Another great aspect of Judging is the oral reasons. Older members give their placement reasons to the officials, this requires the kids to organize their thoughts and practice public speaking.
Also in June, we participate in the Orleans County Clipping Clinic. This is an educational workshop led by professional fitters, who attend shows and sales, where they clip and prepare the animals to look their best. Every fitter has a different technique and the 4-Hers pick up tips from all of them to develop their own style.
In July, we will participate in the County 4-H Show at the Orleans County Fairgrounds, in Barton, VT. Our VT State 4-H Show follows in August. At these shows the kids participate in confirmation class with their animals but also Fitting and Showing. For Fitting and Showing they are each judged on how well they prepare and present their project. At the State show, 4-Hers that are old enough can qualify to go on to represent Vermont at the Big E in September. At the Big E, the 4-Hers are solely responsible for their projects for the week. They are teamed up by state, they care for the animals, prep them for the show ring and show their animals. This is a very fun event and is a great conclusion of the 4-H year!