4-H Day at National Western Stock Show Features Give-Aways, Catch-A-Calf Contest

Officials from Colorado State University Cooperative Extension, the organization that oversees 4-H, will be at the National Western Stock Show on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 4-H day at the event.

Stock show attendees can visit the university’s booth for 4-H stickers, bracelets, bookmarks and for more information about the organization, which caters to both rural and urban children. In addition, booth visitors can register for a prize drawing in honor of 4-H day.

Special NWSS rodeo events also will mark 4-H day at the National Western. Colorado State University 4-H dignitaries will ride in the stagecoach at the 2 p.m. rodeo, including Marc Johnson, dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences; Jeff Goodwin, director of Colorado 4-H programs; Rebecca Fry, executive director of the Colorado 4-H Youth Fund; Lauren Frederikson, a senior at Colorado State University and a 4-H scholar; and Biz McManus, president of the youth-run officer group overseeing state 4-H club members.   

During the rodeo, the Catch-A-Calf contest also will be highlighted. A crowd favorite, sponsored by Colorado State Cooperative Extension, the catch-a-calf contest has been a NWSS tradition since 1935. A group of enthusiastic 4-H youth and a few calves are turned loose together in a pen. The youth who catch and halter a calf get to take it home as a 4-H project and learn to feed and care for it. They bring it back the next year to compete in a livestock show at the National Western. Those 4-H’ers who are successful in catching a calf maintain contact with contest sponsors and are required to give them updates about the animal, its health and the lessons they’ve learned in caring for the animal daily. The Catch-A-Calf contest teaches youth responsibility, leadership and communication skills.

More than 88,000 youth are enrolled in Colorado 4-H programs, with 15,000 of those youth enrolled in 1,272 traditional 4-H clubs that focus on developing leadership and special interest skills among members, community service projects and more than 75 special interest activities.

     In addition to traditional 4-H programs, Colorado State Cooperative Extension offers a significant number of school enrichment and after-school programs to children and teenagers across the state. In 2004, more than 8,000 youth reported participating in 4-H after-school activities, and 68,800 children reported having participated in 4-H school enrichment activities. Urban 4-H clubs involve youth and volunteers in special interest activities.