The Lakeside Leader and South Peace News ran pictures of the new arena at Spruce Point Park west of Kinuso. Then, Ken Sheldon, Kinuso rancher, contacted the papers with a suggested use.
Kinuso Lakeside 4H has tentatively booked the arena for the 2021 district 4H achievement days, he says.
At achievement days, 4H clubs with beef and lamb programs compete for prizes. The highest is grand champion. The livestock are then auctioned off, in ranked order.
In 2020, the achievement day didn’t happen, but area clubs sold their animals online.
In recent years, High Prairie has hosted the district meet.
Kinuso Lakeside 4H members raise cattle.
Ken’s grandson, Lace Sheldon (15) is the club reporter. It is his fourth year in 4H.
“The biggest difference is all the COVID stuff,” he says, of the 2020 4H season.
Kinuso has nine young people raising steers for market. At weigh-in on October 31, the steers were six to eight months. The lightest was a black Angus/simmental named Chubs, which was 548 lb. The biggest was a speckled park named Archibald, which weighed 790 lb.
Ken has been connected with Kinuso 4H since he was a kid. He grew up on the family farm in the area and bought his own ranch 55 years ago.
“I’m just kind of a helper now,” he says. In 1967, when he was Lace’s age, he won grand champion at the district achievement day.
There’s only a limited amount of time that the cattle can be on feed, says Ken. The sale has to coincide with this.
Previous achievement days were in June.
While Kinuso focuses on beef, Mirror Landing 4H, in Smith, has various options. This year, it has beef, lamb, equine, poultry, small engines, and photography. It also has Cleaver, which is the group for kids aged six to nine. It has about 25 members and five leaders.
Brysa McConaghy (11) is the club reporter for Mirror Landing. She’s been in 4H for three years.
“I’m doing beef,” she says. “Every year, I’ve done beef. I like working with cows and showing them.”
This year with COVID, the clubs are finding different ways to do community engagement.
In December, Mirror Landing has partnered with Gentle Ben Care Society to make Christmas hampers for Smith-Hondo seniors. The hampers have ingredients to make a turkey dinner with all the trimmings and dessert.
Char’s Railway Cafe, Jim Sparks (Century 21), SHARA (Smith-Hondo Association of Recreation and Agriculture Society), and Slave Lake Dental donated to the hampers.
Mirror Landing has also invited the other clubs to an online ugly sweater carol sing.
In the new year, it hopes to do a pig raffle fundraiser.
Northern Lights 4H meets in Slave Lake. In the past, Northern Lights has done small engines, trapping, and shooting sports. This year, along with the club steer, they are doing exploring 4H. This gives a taste of various aspects of 4H including cooking, gardening, fishing, and making moccasins. Each one takes about a month.
“We’re meeting by Zoom,” says Devlin Van Roon (12), club reporter. The club is also taking turns feeding Clover, the club’s charity steer. When it is sold, the money will go to Kids With Cancer Society.
This is Devlin’s first year in 4H, but last year he was involved in any family events the club held. His older brother is also a member.
Georgie Gauthier, at the Fix, is teaching the cooking class.
Last year, Northern Lights carved pumpkins with the seniors at Vanderwell Lodge. This year, they carved some the same day they made a shelter for the steer. They then dropped them off for the seniors to enjoy.
Asked why he liked 4H, Devlin said, “seeing all the things you can do that most kids wouldn’t do like shooting or even snowmobiling and gardening.”