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Memories of Wyoming 4-H

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

By Dick Perue

Mention 4-H at any gathering of country boys and girls, and most will recall memories of the organization. Be it making a friend, falling in love at a meeting or county fair or “learning by doing” – most will brag about being an exhibitor and then gladly share their experiences.  

Ah, yes, memories of being a 4-H exhibitor.

The first project, a bum lamb taking a red ribbon at the county fair, and the “icky” girls in the sewing club.

Next year, a prize-winning Southdown, the sadness of having to sell it at the livestock sale and a glimpse of a cute girl at the county fair.

A couple of years with prize-winning livestock and looking forward to the money earned at fair. And the girls are getting prettier.

Spending summer haying for a neighbor and neglecting the small herd of black faces until just before fair. A wild time showing, good money, first time camping all week at the fairgrounds and the girls getting sexy. I didn’t fill out my record book until I was hounded into it at the last minute by the club leader.

The following year, still working on the ranch, but this time caring for livestock, showing reserve champion at county fair and qualifying for state fair. Plus, earning more money than I’d ever seen before. And the young women became beautiful in the eyes of a shy, pimple-faced country kid.

Moved to town, sold livestock, became a printer’s devil for a weekly newspaper, joined 4-H photography club and won several ribbons. Started dating some of those “icky” girls from the sewing club.

After four years at the University of Wyoming, a short stint in the Air Force, marriage and kids, I remember returning to my old hometown to report on 4-H activities in the valley, and becoming a 4-H leader for the photo club.

Of course, one of the fondest memories of 4-H is the special leader who taught us so much. Yet, the memory didn’t come until many years later when I wised up to all the great things I learned from the exceptional person. I swear my folks were the dumbest folks on earth until I got to be 30 years old, when, all of a sudden, they became brilliant.

Let’s not forget “learning by doing” is best accomplished through 4-H by following the pattern of “Head, Heart, Hands and Health.” 

I hope someone is recording and preserving the memories, history and accomplishments of the 4-H movement for the past century in Wyoming and they will share the great experience with all of us. A great place to start would be the writings of Burton W. Marston in his book, “History of 4-H Club Work in Wyoming, 1913-1964.” 

Maybe there is an update I am not aware of.

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