Exposition valuable for youth

Local 4-H members learn lots at fairgrounds event

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Routt County's Expo winners: Horse, top novice rider: Mackenzie Holmberg Beef, top hand: Sarajane Rossi Beef, intermediate herdsman award: Sarajane Rossi Beef, junior herdsman award: Belle Horn Sheep, top hand: ShyAnn Williams Sheep, intermediate herdsman award: Catharine Koroulis Swine, intermediate herdsman award: Calla Manzanares Swine, senior herdsman award: Tyler Manzanares

Marshmallows come in handy when training a pig.

That's just one of the tips that Calla Manzanares, 13, of Hayden, learned at last week's Northwest Colorado Livestock, Horse and Dog Exposition.

Manzanares, who brought to the expo pigs that she'll show at the Routt County Fair this summer, said she learned about showmanship, marketing and the marshmallow trick. According to one expert, putting a marshmallow on a stick to make a pig hold its head up while being led helps in training.

"I want to try it and see if it actually works," she said. Pigs, she added, "can be hard, sometimes, to move."

The event attracted 145 4-H participants, ages 8 to 18, who came to the Routt County Fairgrounds from Routt, Moffat, Garfield, Rio Blanco, Grand, Jackson and Eagle counties. All brought their animals and learned how best to care for and show them.

ShyAnn Williams, 9, took her sheep and horse and said she learned a lot. One tip that she remembered was that you should never stand between your horse and the judge in the show ring. That way, the judge has a good view.

Expo, she said, was fun, even though it was hard at times.

"It was worth it, because I got to show that I learned a lot to all the competitors that were out there," Williams said.

Although the 4-Hers get ranked, the event is not about winning, said Jay Whaley, 4-H and youth development agent for the Colorado State University Cooperative Extension Service.

"The whole focus of Expo is education, not competition," Whaley said.

There are three categories of Expo: livestock, dog and horse.

For the livestock category, experts gave tips about raising and showing animals, proper animal health and ethical issues. One graduate student brought ultrasound equipment for lambs, goats and pigs that showed the size of the rib eye and back fat.

For the dog classes, 4-Hers worked on obedience, agility and showmanship. For the horse classes, participants worked on showmanship, riding techniques and using horses on a working ranch.

The children were evaluated not on the quality of their animals but on the quality of their work.

"This one just focuses on the kid," Whaley said. "We try to teach them how to bring the best out in their animal."

They were evaluated at the end of the week based on several areas: a written test, an interview, how they showed their animals, and herdsmanship, or how well they helped out in events, how clean they kept their stalls and more.

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