Jeff Green | Oct 04, 2007
Feature Article - October 4, 2007 Feature Article - October 4, 2007
Frontenac 4H Steer Club Ropes 'em in.by Jule Koch Brison
A rope, some pieces of 2 x 6, and a bottle of Pepsi – who would have thought those could make up a winning attraction at the recent Kingston Fall Fair?
But when the Frontenac 4-H Steer Club set up “Woody” the wooden calf at the fair and challenged the city slickers to rope him and win a bottle of Pepsi, it kept youngsters (and adults) glued to their area for hours.
4-H stands for Head, Heart, Hands, and Health, and there are 4-H clubs throughout Canada and the US. 4-H uses a learn-by-doing approach to enable youth to develop knowledge and skills in many different areas - as one 4-H website puts it, “from drama to woodworking, life skills to livestock, square dancing to conservation”.
Each individual club focuses on a different area, and Kevin Bovey formed the Frontenac 4-H Steer Club to encourage young people to see agriculture as an opportunity. The Steer Club focuses on beef and beef business and has 18 members from all over Frontenac county - some are from Godfrey, Burridge, Hartington, Perth Road, Inverary, Joyceville, and Sunbury. Kevin and Polly Walsh are the leaders of the club.
Its aim is to give the kids experience in how to make money with cattle – how to choose, raise and market them. This year’s goal was to raise animals to sell at the Kingston Fair auction. The animals also had to be broken so they could be led around at the fair.
Over the months, the kids raised their steers from 500 lb. to a whopping1000 lb. by feeding them $500 – $600 worth of grain. The Frontenac Community Futures Development Corporation provided start up money for tools and equipment. Each member was then given a $500 grain credit at their local feed store, which they were able to pay off in full after the auction. The sale was very successful for the club – the kids were thrilled when some of the steers brought in $3000. “It was loan education for the kids and the local businesses benefited too,” said Kevin Bovey.
The club also spent a day at Eastern Cowboy Horseback Adventures in Parham, where Lyn Cronk taught them to rope, and they took that skill to the fair, with great success.
The club meets all over the area, changing meeting locations every time. The membership has grown and new members are welcome. For more information contact Kevin Bovey at 613-353-2626, or Polly Walsh at 613-353-6991