- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 3, 2016

SHERIDAN, Wyo. (AP) - Farmers and ranchers know how it gets done. Taking care of animals often means early mornings, late nights, weird smells and bruises.

Children participating in the Sheridan County Fair have learned those lessons as well as they’ve prepared for this year’s competitions.

For the Koltiskas, preparing for the fair is a family project. Siblings and cousins pass knowledge on to their younger family members and help show them how to care for the animals, reported The Sheridan Press (https://bit.ly/2aKT7BL).

Amia Koltiska, 9, is in her second year participating in 4-H. She raises goats, cows, pigs and steers. She got started because so many of her family members are involved in the program. Her grandmother even participated in 4-H many years ago, she said.

Koltiska works to halter break her animals and said she spends time just petting and being with them to try and get them used to being around people.

But her cousin, Sage Koltiska, said most people don’t realize the work that goes into trying to halter break an animal.

“It doesn’t mean they are tame,” she said. “They are still wild animals and people still walk up to them and pet them without asking at the fair. It’s not safe. They are still animals.”

Sage, Amia and their family gathered recently to show off some of their projects for this year’s fair and talk about the work that goes into those projects.

Paden Koltiska, 18, has participated in 4-H for many years and said this year he hopes to put the money from the sale of his animals into buying a car for college.

He shows steers, a cow/calf pair, chickens and pigs. He’ll also submit a woodworking project to the fair.

“It teaches you a lot,” Paden Koltiska said of his time in 4-H. “It is a lot of responsibility for sure. It teaches you to set goals and how to work hard.”

He added, though, that it also taught him that failure happens.

“There will be years your animals don’t make weight, or you don’t win, and that’s just part of it,” he said, adding that it also teaches participants to understand and respect the agricultural lifestyle.

For Ava Scheeler, 12, participating in 4-H has also brought her closer to her family.

Scheeler said raising animals - she has pigs, sheep and horses - means having to work together with her siblings.

“I’ve learned to work together and not fight,” she said. “It takes longer to get everything done if we’re fighting.”

Scheeler described what she does to get ready for the fair. She said she has to gather supplies, wash and shave her animals and pack it all up to take to the Sheridan County Fairgrounds.

She said she likes working with her horses the best because she gets to learn different patterns for showing them at the fair.

The Albrechts in Sheridan are no strangers to 4-H, either.

Will Albrecht, 14, and his brother have been participating for a couple of years.

He said he shows a number of different animals and spends about five hours a week working with them, feeding them and generally taking care of them. He noted that some of them can be stubborn, but he enjoys working with them nonetheless.

Albrecht said he got involved in 4-H because several of his friends were involved, but through the program he has gained a number of mentors, as well.

He will submit a piece of leatherwork for this year’s contest and said he learned that craft by hanging out at King’s Saddlery and King’s Ropes. Albrecht said he tries to stop into the shop every Saturday morning to learn from the pros.

“I can’t do the flowers quite yet, I do the stamping,” he said, but he’s learning and developing his skills both with livestock and with leatherworking.

The Sheridan County Fair at the Sheridan County Fairgrounds will culminate in the livestock sale on Aug. 8.

___

Information from: The Sheridan (Wyo.) Press, https://www.thesheridanpress.com/

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide