Off the Hill with Tricia Swenson: Rodeo stars start young with 4-H |

Off the Hill with Tricia Swenson: Rodeo stars start young with 4-H

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The Eagle County Fair and Rodeo dates back to 1939 when hundreds of folks from the region came to the county to share in a day of competition and camaraderie.

Along with the ropin’ and wranglin’, the 4-H exhibits featured livestock, arts and crafts. Housed in the Eagle River Center, the 4-H exhibits are not to be missed today. This is where the hard work and dedication of local youth comes to fruition.

The 4-H association is the largest youth development organization in the nation, helping youngsters pursue interests that range from photography to computers, but we checked in with those raising everything from steers to sheep to chickens to pigs and even bunnies at this year’s fair.

These kids have worked countless hours to raise an animal worthy of the annual auction. This dedication to tend to and care for some living being other than oneself speaks volumes to the character these kids possess. The 4-H emblem is the four-leaf clover, which represents Head, Heart, Hands and Health, and these kids exemplify all of these qualities.

I’ve had they opportunity over the years to interview the 4-Hers and have always enjoyed it because these kids were so well spoken and poised, had a lot of respect for their craft and I sensed they were destined for success later in life because of the core values learned through 4-H.

The Junior Livestock Auction is an opportunity for kids to showcase their hard work and earn money to buy a new animal for next year’s auction or put it toward a college fund. These kids learn business and people skills and also become stewards of the community. The discipline involved in raising livestock keeps kids engaged and very busy.

Instead of chasing Pokemon Go pocket monsters, they’re chasing after their own animals.

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