4-H member sells shares on steer, donates portion of prize money for diabetes research

More than a dozen years of experience working with cattle, combined with some inspired marketing has paid off for 18-year-old Nicki Ross of Innisfail, Alta.


A member of the Bow-Inn 4-H beef club, her reserve grand champion blue roan steer sold for $7.25 a pound for a total of $9,200 at the regional show and sale in Red Deer June 1. 


The difference in this sale was Nicki’s decision to donate 25 percent of her earnings to the Canadian Diabetes Association through a unique marketing plan.


Her grandfather was diagnosed with diabetes several years ago and is now on dialysis three times a week. She wanted to help in some way and came up with a plan to sell shares in her steer named Phil. 


She set up a website called Club Phil explaining her plans and offered a chance to buy shares and donate a percentage of future prize money to the diabetes association. 


The steer is entered at the Calgary Stampede and after the show season, the steer will be processed and the beef shared among those participating. 


The steer came from her aunt and uncle, Jason and Bev Kelly, who own Prime Time Cattle at Innisfail. She worked for them last summer and part of her wage was her pick of the show steers. She was confident she had a winner and that encouraged her even more, said her father Hugh Ross.


“When kids have a chance with a good animal, they like showing it even more,” he said. 


Her next goal is to study graphic design in Calgary in the fall but she plans to continue with 4-H and other showing opportunities.