By John Colson
Sopris Sun Staff Writer
(Editor’s note: The Sopris Sun profiled one of Carbondale’s two 4-H clubs, The Black Sheep, on April 7, as this summer’s preparations for the upcoming Garfield County Fair in Rifle (Aug. 1-7) got under way. The following article is a look at the community’s other 4-H club, the Mt. Sopris 4-H Club, which also has members planning to exhibit at the Fair).
There are nine members of the Mt. Sopris 4-H Club who plan to take a variety of projects to the Garfield County Fair in early August, according to a list compiled by club leader Wendy Hayden. The club’s list of projects includes several “market swine,” or pigs raised to be sold at the Fair and slaughtered; about half a dozen breeding beef or market beef (cattle); two baking projects; a horse; and exhibits about archery and photography.
The members include Hayden’s 17-year-old daughter, Hannah, who is entering nine different categories for market swine in this year’s Fair, as well as:
• Skylar McLaren, 13, who is entering the photography competition;
• Gus Carney, 12, who is entering breeding beef and market beef;
• Trent Goscha, 12, with two market swine;
• Tess Goscha, 10, in the baking and the market swine categories;
• Avery McLaren, 10, in archery;
• Aubrey McLaren, 10, in the horse category;
• Brady Samuels, 10, in photography and poultry;
• and Scarlett Carney, 9, entering market poultry and breeding beef.
The entries for projects, including livestock, county contests, shooting sports, general project, the horse show and the dog show, all were due on July 1, and for the first time exhibitors were being asked to register online at a special web site.
The process of registering online apparently was acknowledged by fair organizers to be difficult enough to warrant a proviso in the June 4-H newsletter: “This is the first year for online entries, so if you need help understanding the entry system you can always call the Extension Office for assistance.”
Reached by phone this week, Hannah Hayden confirmed that the Mt. Sopris club members had, after consulting with one another, submitted their entry forms online as directed by the deadline.
“We just all got together, talked it over, and submitted them at the same time,” Hayden recounted.
She also confirmed that this is her last year of 4-H due to the organization’s age limits.
“I’m definitely kind of sad about it,” she told The Sopris Sun.
But, she added, “4-H is like family,” so she plans to continue to be involved in the activities, whether helping younger members with her projects or becoming a club leader in some capacity.
She said she also hopes to keep up with her animal husbandry work when she goes to college, perhaps at Texas Tech in Lubbock, whether that is in collegiate level rodeo or in livestock judging competitions.
Hayden indicated she, like other club members, takes it in stride whenever a project is thrown off track because an animal is attacked by a predator (bears and mountain lions have been known to kill or carry off swine and other animals headed for the Fair) or fall victim to disease.
“We all deal with stuff like that,” she said, reporting that last year she lost a swine to pneumonia, despite heroic efforts to save the animal, and that this year one of her swine had developed complications related to castration and is still on the mend. She hopes to enter that swine in competition at the Colorado State Fair in Pueblo in late August.
The Mt. Sopris club, like the Black Sheep club, holds regular meetings where members discuss their project, practice showmanship and other aspects of 4-H activities, and continue their preparations to compete in the Garfield County Fair.
The Garfield County Fair runs Aug. 1-7 in Rifle.
Published in The Sopris Sun on July 7, 2016.