Vail Valley: Rocky Mountain Oyster Feed returns |

Vail Valley: Rocky Mountain Oyster Feed returns

Randy WyrickVail, CO, Colorado

EAGLE — When the budget-cut ax fell on local 4-H scholarships and awards, the kids stepped up to do something about it.Welcome the return of the Rocky Mountain Oyster Feed Saturday in Eagle. And we’ll get this out of the way right now: Rocky Mountain Oysters are a delicacy, but if your palate is less exotic they’ll have barbecue and everything that goes with it.The Junior Livestock Commission decided it was time for a good idea to make a comeback. The money they raise will go to 4-H Grand Champion awards and the college scholarships that the club’s senior members earn ever year.”I’m grateful,” said Ella Guzik, a senior in her what could be her last year of 4-H. “The scholarship would be a godsend since I’m about to go to college.”4-H is great training for life. It teaches kids to set long-term goals and work toward them, one step at a time. There’s very little instant gratification. There’s lots of room for success, along with the occasional failure, said Bill Kaufman, one of the local 4-H leaders.”These kids are the best of the best and they work on these projects all year long,” said Kaufman. “It provides positive reinforcement for the good kids.”There’s the project, then there’s the book where they keep track of the project, including how much time and money they spent on it.Horses are year-round, and so is County Council – if you’re elected. Livestock projects begin in the fall and end when the fair does in late summer. All sorts of other clubs and projects require a kid’s attention for months at a time. Steers wander off like they’re in search for a support group for beleaguered bovine.”It’s always good to use reward and recognition as a way to encourage people, especially after all the work that goes into these projects over such a long time,” said Emily Massie. Massie might be in her final 4-H year and has had a sheep project going for three years, which is a long time even by 4-H standards.Not so long ago she and her sheep had a little come-to-Jesus meeting. Basically, if they didn’t make some lambs they’d be a fleece coat liner and Easter dinner. Sometimes, even sheep get the message.”It’s so great to go out there in the morning and see those adorable little guys,” Massie said beaming.You get to be in 4-H for about 10 years, then you go to college, or to work, or just straight into real life.Some of these kids will have six projects for three different clubs. We caught up with Guzik and Massie at a Whistling Bullets meeting. They shoot archery and guns, along with everything else 4-H kids do.”Fair week is like Christmas. You’re exhausted and excited all the time for a week. I love it. It’s absolutely worth it.”Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or

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