A fair amount of 4-H talent in Rifle | PostIndependent.com

A fair amount of 4-H talent in Rifle

Heidi Rice
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Chad Spangler Post Independent

RIFLE, Colorado ” Katy Kelley’s glittery gold shirt, horseshoe necklace and shiny belt were so attractive that it even caught the attention of the steer she was showing at the Garfield County Fair.

“The steer was trying to eat my shirt!” she later laughed.

Katy, 10, of Rifle, was one of a number of finalists in the Round Robin competition early Saturday morning. The competition focused on showmanship of five different breeds of animals ” steer, goat, sheep, swine and horse ” and how the contestants handled the animals, the health and grooming of the animals and how well they behaved ” the animals, that is.

Katy had showed her 14-year-old quarter horse/Welsh pony, “Peaches,” earlier in the morning, which she has had for the past five years.

“She’s little, but I love her,” Katy said with a smile.

In this particular round, the horse competitors were showing the other species to determine their showmanship, although the animals did not belong to them. Each round had a judge who looked at a number of criteria.

“They’re trying to show the animal the best that it can look and show how well the animal behaves,” said Janell Carnahan of Parachute, who was the coordinator during the goat portion of the competition. “But it’s not just showing the animal, it’s how well it’s groomed, fed and its muscularity.”

Katy had no problem with the goat portion. But the sheep part didn’t go as well. The animal didn’t seem to want to do what it was supposed to do.

“I didn’t like that sheep,” Katy said afterwards.

Katy has been a 4-H competitor in the Garfield County Fair for the past three years. Her mom, Dawn Kelley, is a co-leader for the Rifle Ag 4-H club with Carol McMeel.

“This is something I did when I was young, and it gave me a lot of respect for the animals and animal husbandry,” Dawn said. “It’s a good program.”

After showing all five species, Katy led Peaches back to her stall and waited to hear the results, which would include the grand champion and reserve grand champion.

And while she’ll soon be 11, Katy said she intends to continue to compete at the Garfield County Fair until she reaches the cutoff age of 18.

“It’s a lot of fun, and I get to learn a lot of stuff,” Katy said. “And with my mom as our 4-H leader, I know what she’s talking about.”

Katy’s shirt, by the way, was ordered online from Hobby Horse, which makes clothes specifically for horse shows.

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