The Calgary Stampede, 4-H Alberta and the Olds Agricultural Society host an annual youth program that offers $75,000 scholarships and education opportunities.
Throughout the week at Olds, these young people learn showmanship, grooming, marketing and leadership skills topped off with livestock shows ending in a supreme championship at the final day of the Stampede, which this year was July 16.
No matter how much experience the participants have as junior livestock professionals, winning at the Stampede is a big deal.
”This was my biggest win ever,” said Bailey Wauters of Wrentham, Alta., whose family raises about 350 commercial cattle.
She showed a home-raised Maintainer commercial cow-calf pair to the supreme championship. She also had the champion commercial Simmental pair.
Wauters has been showing since she joined 4-H 10 years ago. Now she is a nursing student at Leth-bridge College and works with cattle during her time off.
This summer rather than walking the wards of a hospital, she will be working at Six Mile Ranch in Sask-atchewan.
The supreme champion purebred went to Laurie Morasch of Bassano, Alta., who is no stranger to the winner’s circle. She won the Supreme championship at Canadian Western Agribition when she was 12, had the grand champion Red Angus bull at the National Western Stock Show in Denver, Colorado, and won the Summer Synergy supreme championship with a Red Angus pair in 2012.
Now 19, she is an animal science student at Lakeland College in Vermilion, Alta., where she is part of the research team studying residual feed intake and genomics.
She has taken that knowledge back to the family ranch, where genomic assessments are done on their purebred bulls.
“It has made a difference in the consistency of their numbers,” she said.
Jaxson Peltzer of Rosemary, Alta., had the supreme sheep. The Alberta 4-H sheep show was held in conjunction with Summer Synergy to give participants an opportunity to vie for prizes and scholarships.
His family runs about 80 Hampshire-Suffolk cross ewes.
A Grade 12 student, Peltzer plans to attend Lakeland College after he graduates next year to study automotive mechanics.