County Fair Series
Sanchez twins carry on family heritage
The Sanchez family has been involved in 4-H and FFA for decades. The family matriarch, Dawn Sanchez, has worked for multiple 4-H Extension offices since 1997.
Dawn is a 4-H educator for Laramie County, where she supports programs at the local military base as well as several after-school enrichment programs. Dawn’s children have grown up around 4-H and FFA and have been active in both organizations from a young age.
The Sanchez family owns and operates club lamb and goat programs in Burns, where they raise sheep, Boer and Alpine goats, jumbo Pekin ducks, mini-Rex rabbits, mini-Hereford cows and horses for 4-H projects.
The Sanchez family recently returned from a 4-H International Exchange Program trip to Ireland which Dawn co-organized, allowing students to explore Ireland’s agriculture industry and livestock production practices.
This exchange program is open to Wyoming students 14 and older who are involved in 4-H and FFA. During this year’s trip, a group of 50 made the trek to Ireland to advance their cultural understanding and develop skills and abilities to live and work effectively in a global society.
Continuing the family legacy
Dawn’s youngest children Cooper and Blair, are juniors at Burns High School and have been involved in 4-H since they were only five years old. Since then, they have raised various livestock on their family farm.
This year, Cooper will show sheep, goats, rabbits and ducks at the Laramie County Fair. When Cooper is not competing in the livestock ring, he participates in the local Burns FFA Chapter and competes on the Burns High School football, wrestling and track and field teams.
“This summer, I focused on my animals, putting work and sports to the side, and as a result, I have a better understanding of my animals,” stated Cooper.
Cooper continued, “What I enjoy most about 4-H is the traveling. We just got back from a 4-H International Exchange Program trip to Ireland.”
During the 10-day trip to Ireland, Cooper said, “We visited Dublin, Kilkenny, Waterford, Howth and Galloway. We toured oyster, strawberry, dairy, beef and sheep farms and learned about Ireland’s farming philosophy. We tried fresh beef prepared especially for our group,” Cooper explained.
He expressed, “The people and guides were great, and it was beyond my expectations. I would definitely do another trip again.”
Creating new traditions
When it comes to Blair’s 4-H experience, she reflected on the influence she had from her older sister and cousin who competed in the horse world.
Since Blair started with the Cloverbuds, she has loved showing her animals. Starting with sheep and goats raised on the family farm, she has grown her livestock showing experience to include cattle, horses and ducks.
“I have been very fortunate, as I have been the recipient of the Catch-A-Calf program at the National Western Stock Show (NWSS),” Blair stated.
The program is designed so successful participants secure their spot in the program by catching a calf in January. Then, in May they receive a live calf to feed out and raise, and one year later, they return with the animal as a market-ready steer at NWSS in Denver.
Blair continued, “This year, I am showing Ody, short for Odysseus – a wether Boer goat. He is the best. Raising an animal from birth is amazing, and you really get to know the animal and its personality.”
Blair explained showing year-round is a full-time job, and when she isn’t working with livestock, she stays involved as a high school wrestling manager. She also competes in livestock judging competitions, and she is her 4-H club’s current reporter and FFA chapter vice president.
“What I enjoy most about 4-H and FFA is coaching kids,” Blair added.
Blair was part of a team which hosted the Banners-R-Cool showman clinics for Worland and Jackson kids this summer
Blair explained, “4-H and FFA have allowed me the opportunity to become a great leader and develop my communication skills, all while learning to work with others. It’s a great opportunity.”
Cooper and Blair are currently prepping for the Laramie County Fair, where they will participate in various 4-H livestock events held Aug 2-12 at the Archer Complex in Cheyenne.
Melissa Anderson is the editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to firstname.lastname@example.org.