Groomin' and a-mooin'

By Geoff Lee

April 27, 2017 12:00 AM

PARTING WAYS Mary-Ann Carson, chairperson for a 4-H Grooming and Showmanship/judging clinic held April 22-23 at the Lloydminster Exhibition Grounds, provided some combing tips to Kacie Murray from Pierceland 4-H. GEOFF LEE LLS PHOTO

Washing, combing, blowing, clipping and mooing.
That was the order of the day for yearlings and their young two-legged masters at a 4-H Grooming and Showmanship clinic held at the Lloydminster Exhibition Grounds on April 22.
There was also a judging clinic and the Nelson Group Judging competition the following day, with skills learned from the grooming clinic for kids aged six to 21.
“It’s a good opportunity for a lot of them to get out and bring their animals into town and get them use to their surroundings before they have to bring them in for the regionals,” said Mary-Ann Carson, event chairperson.
“We’ve got a lot of younger kids here today that have never been before, so I think they’re kind of excited to be part of the whole thing.”
About 100 4-H members from regional clubs honed their skills, starting with calf washing with dish soap or shampoo and water.
Young Shawn Whitney from the 4-H Senlac Multiple club brought his whole family to help him wash a heifer that his uncle supplied and he confirmed it was fun.
“Yes, as long as she doesn’t hit me with her tail,” he said.
He listed the tools of the task as a “comb, hose, a scrubby thing and my mom and dad.”
The next step was blowing the hair dry, before combing and clipping with a purpose that is more than skin deep.
“I’m just teaching them how to train hair for the show ring,” said instructor Kaleen Harris with the regional 4-H Expo coming up June-3-5 in Lloydminster.
“It means you work the calf’s hair so you make it nice and fluffy wherever they go into the show.”
She said the regional is great opportunity for the kids to show off what they have if they are a purebred breeder to show off genetics.
4-H kids with steers and heifers get to show off the product that they raised from October until now and they get to sell them at the show.
The goal of combing said Harris is to make sure the hair is flowing up and towards the head, so it makes the animal look smoother.
Carson added one of the things you are trying to do by combing a calf is to make it look longer and wider.
“So combing is critical to do it for the animal that you have,” she said noting there are different techniques for calves with straight or curly hair.
Zachary Ladiuk, who is just 11 years-old with the Kitscoty 4-H Beef club sounded like a pro explaining what he was doing with his steer fresh from a wash.
“Right now, I am blowing him off because after you wash him he is very wet,”  he said.
“We’re going to clip him; we use a hair razor and cut all his hair down so it looks nice and even and good.”
Ladiuk lives on a farm and said his mom and dad were also in 4-H and got him interested in it with this being his first year as a member.
“I like that you can just get to know your animal,” he said.
About 80 kids were registered for a judging clinic on a variety of different animals.
“It’s to teach them how to compare things and to rationalized the reasons for making those placings,” said Carson.
Four 4-H members aged 15-21 who participated in the Nelson Group Judging competition qualified for the Saskatchewan Regional 4-H Judging competition in Prince Alberta Aug. 19
The lucky winners are Doug Sroka, and Savannah Carson from the Maidstone Gully Multiple 4-H club and Taylor Ross and Karrigan Knorr from the Lashburn Outlaws 4-H.
“Some of these members could be judges whether it’s cattle or horses or livestock and can go on to a professional level,” said Carson.
The four winners will also compete on the Saskachewan Team at the Canadian National 4-H competition at Agribition in November.

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