A dozen projects round out fair entries
Sheridan – Dairy cows, meat goats and breeding swine are only a quarter of the projects that Sheridan County 4-H member Kaitlyn Shaw took to the county fair this year.
Twelve-year-old Shaw took 12 projects spanning a variety of topics – crocheting, fabric and fashion, market swine, breeding swine, market sheep, poultry, food and nutrition, cake decorating, dairy goats, dairy cows and a self-determined project of alpacas, which would be more than enough to keep most people busy.
Shaw and her family live outside of Big Horn, where her mom homeschools her and her two younger brothers.
“My mom wanted to be more hands-on with our education. Plus, it gives me more time to devote to my 4-H projects,” says Shaw, who spends two hours in the morning and two hours at night taking care of her animals and doing chores. Her dad helps her with the milking, but Kaitlyn is learning to do everything on her own.
Shaw is using these ventures not only to save up from her own personal use, but also for her family’s benefit.
“We keep our milk for ourselves, and I use the money from my market animals to save up for college and other things,” she adds.
The Shaw family is just getting started in a couple of their animal endeavors. They have a purebred Jersey heifer that they plan to breed to start raising and milking Jersey cows. The family is also dabbling with a new venture of raising purebred Berkshire hogs, which are known for their marbling ability and high meat quality.
“Berkshires produce the best tasting meat. They have more fat in their meat, which makes them taste better and we can market them to more places,” explains Shaw.
Another unique project that Shaw takes to fair are alpacas. Shaw takes the fleece and has just started spinning her own fleece. Eventually she would like to sell her fleece and market to local stores.
Shaw rounds out her projects with an array of static exhibits, many of which will go on to the State Fair.
“My family members and church friends helped me to learn how to sew and crochet, and my mom helped teach me how to cook,” says Shaw.
Shaw has a good head for business, as has been proven by some of the awards that she has won. This summer at the Wyoming State 4-H Showcase Showdown she won the Youth Business Ventures Contest in the intermediate division. This granted Shaw $2,300 that she will use to build a chicken coop and raise rare breeds of chickens.
“I like to try new things that are different from most projects. It helps me to learn more and be able to teach others about my projects,” she adds.
Since Shaw keeps so busy with all of her projects she opted to only send her static exhibits to State Fair and to participate in the open goat show.
“It would be difficult to get away and leave my animals for a whole week, but going down for one day should be fun,” says Shaw.
Shaw will keep busy will her many projects and talents throughout the rest of the year. Look for her in the exhibit halls at the Wyoming State Fair to catch a glimpse of her projects and to take in the displays of member’s talents from across the state.
Tressa Lawrence is the editorial intern at the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.