Teen knows how to judge them
For many teens, the PNE is all about the rides, the food and the entertainment.
And, while that will still be a priority for Alison Speller, she’s got another aspect on her list of must-do things when she goes to the annual event.
She has to judge some horses, goats, sheep, swine and cattle.
The 17-year-old is one of four local 4-H Club members who will be judging livestock at the exhibition, which opened in Vancouver last week.
Her co-judges from the Kamloops clubs include Nicole Huber, Saul Lingren and Meghan McGillivray.
Also participating from the Kamloops area are members of the Jumping Jack Rabbits and Yale County clubs.
The rabbits will be showing — obviously — rabbits while the Yale members are taking their sheep.
Alison got started
in 4-H when she was five, working with sheep.
It was a natural for her, she said, because she lives on a ranch in Monte Creek where Black Angus cattle are raised and has grown up surrounded by an agricultural life.
At age nine, she started working with cattle and, eventually, would show her steer, heifer and cow projects.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Alison said. “You learn new things, you meet different kids and you learn about the sustainability” of agriculture.
It’s also been beneficial in a more tangible way, as she received one of 10 scholarships given out nationally last year by Canada Trust and the Canadian 4-H Council.
The $2,500 award will go toward her university education, she said, as she plans to start science studies at Thompson Rivers University next month.
The quartet earned their way there through their work with the local clubs, said Deb Goertzen, 4-H district key leader for Kamloops.
They qualify through successful judging at local events, particularly a large rally held in Kamloops.
“The kids are so excited,” Goertzen said.
“The PNE is part of it, too, but they like to meet other 4-H kids, too.”
There are 13 clubs in the Kamloops district, which includes Logan Lake and Merritt, with about 200 youth involved, Goertzen said, making the district one of the biggest in the province.
“It’s a very vibrant community,” she said.
For Alison, who has judged at the PNE before, one of the challenges is assessing projects that involve livestock she hasn’t worked with.
“We’re taken out of our comfort zone,” she said, noting they must consider the animals for their ultimate purposes, among other characteristics.
For example, pleasure horses will be judged on a different standard than work horses. Steers will be looked at for their suitability for meat production, while female cows on their potential to produce more cows.
The 4-H competitions in beef, dairy, dog, llama, goat, poultry, swine, sheep, rabbit, sewing, crafts, photography and horse wraps up today with more than $7,000 in prize money and 75 prizes awarded.
Today’s auction day, with beef, lamb and swine being sold as the 4-Hers final requirement of their livestock projects.