Youth involved with the goat project get tips from experts on preparing their animals for competition at the County Fair. Photo by Jennifer Keith

On Saturday, June 26 the first annual 4-H Livestock Activity Day was hosted at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds by the Mustang 4-H Club. The event was set against a backdrop of youth excitement, coaching excellence and outstanding community sponsorship, creating an amazing learning experience for the Mustang and Rattlesnake 4-H clubs and local FFA members.

The day brought 45 animals to the fairgrounds including cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, chickens, turkeys and rabbits. Master fitting demonstrations were taught to reflect the latest techniques. Also presented were tricks and tips for skin care, grooming, clipping and presentation. Individual projects were coached in showmanship, nutrition, anatomy and etiquette. Informational binders to take home, sponsored by Southern Arizona Equine, were filled with articles on nutrition, grooming, anatomy, carcass evaluation and products for success.

“Learn by doing” is the motto of 4-H. This is exactly what the youth participants achieved throughout the day. The barn vibe was exciting, fun and focused as the youth soaked up every bit of information taught to them while applying it directly to their animals.

The day’s activities culminated in a Showmanship Showdown. Parents were invited to cheer on their kids in the show ring and observe what they learned throughout the day.

Personalized certificates, monogrammed glasses and prizes were awarded to the junior and senior Grand and Reserve Champion Showman, Most Improved and the coveted Herdsmanship Award given to one person from each project who exemplified a team spirit, went the extra mile, and had an enthusiasm to share his/her knowledge.

Cash Keith, 4-H Mustang Sergeant at Arms and Beef Project member, was the recipient of multiple awards including Herdsmanship.

“The clipping demo taught by Mr. Bryce was the first formal training I learned,” said Keith. He also said it has given him the confidence to enter his first SAILA show this Fall.

The sponsorship table was filled with brushes, buckets, show sticks, halters, grooming products and feeders donated by JEM’s feed, 3-bar-3 Feed and Vista Feed. One ton of High Octane specialty feeds was donated by Purina Mills. Each member took home multiple door prizes and feed products after answering some lively trivia questions by coaches Cannon Brown and Joseph Fickett.

In total, 11 coaches and many parent volunteers made this day educational, fun and amazing for the youth. Many coaches were alumni of Santa Cruz county 4-H. With the help of our supportive community, the Mustang 4-H Club hopes to make this an annual event to improve opportunities for hands-on learning, build relationships and help our youth succeed in the show ring and in life. 

The Mustang Club would like to thank Daryl’s Designs, The Steak Out Restaurant, the Cheatham Family and Prentice Family for their sponsorship and support of Livestock Activity Day.

The Mustangs 4-H club will be hosting the Buyers Appreciation Dinner on Saturday, August 21 to thank our past and present community auction supporters. 

The youth members have been working hard on their projects and have top notch animals to introduce to the community. The Mustangs are inviting you to meet them at the Santa Cruz County Fair Sept 17-19. We hope to see you there!