With the Lake County Fair set to kick off Saturday, July 20 and continuing through July 27th, 4-Hers from throughout Lake County are busy putting the final touches on their projects.
FFA members and a few kids and adults who will enter open events will also take entries to the fair, but the vast majority of exhibitors will be 4-H members who belong to one of several Lake County 4-H clubs.
4-H is quite often a family affair. Not only do parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and older siblings often help out the younger kids with their projects, many of those from older generations were 4-H members themselves when they were kids.
Fourteen-year-old Tanner Bergh and 11-year-old Haley Bergh, members of the Round Butte Future Stockmen Club, are two third generation ranch kids from Round Butte who have 4-H in their blood.
Both Berghs are hard at work putting the final touches on their 4-H projects in preparation for the fair that, for them, begins Saturday. It is the day of the horse show and judging.
Tanner will be showing two horses. One is Nickers, a yearling quarter horse who will be one of his projects for many years and who he hopes to eventually turn into a fine team roping horse. Tate, is a more experienced bay mare that he will ride in several events.
Hayley will be showing off her horsemanship skills on one of the family’s other horses, a beautiful buckskin, who appears to like to taunt Hayley’s sheep that are kept just across the fence.
Hayley will be taking two sheep to the fair. One of the lambs is Hayley’s market lamb and the other she has raised as a “foundation lamb.” It is a lamb that will be sold to benefit the 4-H Foundation.
Hayley was selected to raise and prepare the foundation lamb this year based on an essay that she wrote for the 4-H council describing why she wanted the responsibility and how she would care for the animal.
This is the third year that she has been selected for this important role. Because both sheep will be shown in the same class, a Clover Bud 4-Her, Peyton Hout, will be handling the foundation lamb in at least some of the show ring action.
The two lambs, Oreo and Cookie, come from the Cullis family flock and were born late January-early February. Hayley selected and purchased them in April and began the long process of preparing them for the fair.
The sheep need to not only be muscled up to fall within the 100-165 pound weight range, but also must be prepared with experiences that will help them show well in the ring. This involves getting them used to being bathed and shorn and to being handled and shown without the aid of a halter.
In addition to his horses, Tanner will also be showing his Black Angus steer, Mike. Mike was born and raised on the Horner family ranch — headed by Tanner’s grandfather and a full family enterprise.
Tanner had his eye on Mike since the yearly branding in the spring of 2018 and selected him for his project in October 2018 when the calf crop was being shipped. According to Tanner, he and his uncle Jamie picked two possible calves for his project at that time and began halter breaking both.
Mom Jody, added that although the other calf may have had a slight edge in terms of conformation, Mike was ultimately selected for Tanner’s beef project largely because of his temperament.
Mike took to the halter training right away and now can be caught and haltered as easily as Tanner’s horses.
As is the case with many 4-Hers, both Tanner and Hayley are active well beyond their 4-H projects.
Tanner plays football and basketball and team ropes while Haley plays softball and the piano.
Further, both work hard on the Horner family ranch — currently haying. Brother and sister have been involved in 4-H for several years and both expressed how much they enjoy the 4-H group activities such as the practice events and 4-H camp that allow them to meet and build friendships with other 4-Hers from around Lake County and beyond.
Both have been participating in the horse practice events and recently took part in a ‘Jackpot’ where they showed their beef and sheep.
Tanner and Haley are ready and excited for this year’s edition of the Lake County Fair.