For the Teters, other Garfield County Fair 4-H and FFA show families, it’s all one big family
Silence fills the air surrounding the rodeo arena and the midway of the carnival, with only fair officials and carnival workers to be found.
In the distance, on the far west side of the Garfield County Fairgrounds, the sound of more than a dozen industrial-sized blow dryers hum like a well-running engine.
Long before patrons have arrived on the grounds, 4-H and FFA members and their families are hard at work as they prepare for the beef show Friday at the Garfield County Fair.
Alison Teter of Rifle and two of her four children were up by 5:30 a.m. to prepare for the day’s events.
Loghan, 17, and Trey, 11, both sit directly behind their steers, blow drying their hind ends.
Loghan Teter, who is in her ninth year of 4-H and eighth showing steers, said the idea is to “make them super fluffy, so they look fat,”
“The fatter they look, the better,” Loghan said.
With mom watching close by, the Teters make sure their beef projects are good and dry before they head for the camper to get dressed for the show.
“We are lucky we get to stay at the fairgrounds, because I’m a superintendent with the extension office, only superintendents get to camp at the fairgrounds with the carnival,” Alison said.
For the Teters, show-day morning consists of waking up early to feed the animals, then washing and grooming the animals for the show ring.
“This morning we blew the shaving out of them from their stall, followed by a trip to the wash rack to clean them up, and after that we blow dry them for a good two hours,” Loghan said.
“It’s pretty stressful. Sometimes my steers won’t eat and drink, and we just try and keep it a calm atmosphere for them. That way they aren’t freaking out when we bring them in. The more relaxed they are the better they look.”
Loghan named her 1,200-pound steer Buddy, while Trey named his 1,250-pound animal Von, after Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller.
In his third year showing beef cattle, Trey said he puts in a lot of work in-between late fall last year when they picked out their steer and now during fair week.
“Keeping them clean, spraying them off, it really gets you attached to them. We are walking them every single week … each day my steer has been getting nicer and starting to be lovey,” Trey said.
Over nine months of feeding, breaking and getting to know their animals at least two hours a day, it all comes down to one day for the Teters.
“Its pretty hectic, especially with cattle, they take a ton of work,” mom Alison Teter said. “We work really hard. My kids get their calves in September or October the year before, and they raise them all winter.”
She said they start halter breaking them and working with them once the weather begins to warm up.
Always, they are making sure they are gaining weight like they should be and checking their feed program, and adjusting it accordingly.
For Trey it’s all about show day.
“I like show day because our steers are a little calmer, because they are used to the place and the other animals,” Trey said.
Alison said it is a completely different way of life, especially in today’s society.
“I grew up showing horses and hogs in 4-H, so I was a 10-plus year 4-H and FFA member, and there is nothing like 4-H family,” Alison said.
“I love summer time because my kids can be around families who love to spend time with their kinds and teach their kids responsibility and how to care for others, their animals, and other exhibitors.”
4-H is not only a way to grow and learn for children, it starts to make them grow through service to their community.
“My 11-year-old has been asking me all week, how does he sign up to volunteer,” Alison said.
Trey said he loves volunteering, because he gets to help people. Instead of sitting around all day, he can go out and do things to help.
“The other night we sold concessions and we all pitched in and helped,” Trey said.
Not only do they help the community out, but they also meet new people and friends through their 4-H club and the fair.
“Between members of the club, we are like family. We each stick up for one another and help each other out,” Trey said.
“There is no other place they are going to learn this kind of work ethic, and this type of responsibility,” Alison said.
She said they get an aspect of competition, but different than in the sports world. It’s a different level of team. It takes a family.
“It’s all about family and helping each other out at the fair,” Alison said.
Friday marked the last show day for the animals, and with the livestock sale Saturday afternoon, Trey said he is not looking forward to saying goodbye to Von.
“That’s probably the hardest part. I’ve got really attached to him,” Trey said as he glanced back at his steer.
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State department of transportation crews are well on their way to clearing Highway 82 to Independence Pass, which should open on schedule May 27 at noon.