‘Anything can go downhill at any time. You never know what the animals will do.'
Old Barns' Taylor Masters relaxed with dairy calf Cobequid Mercury Gossip on Sunday morning in between showmanship competitions. The teenager was one of 85 youth who participated in the weekend's EastGen 4-H Showcase in Bible Hill. Monique Chiasson - Truro Daily News
BIBLE HILL - Taylor Masters took a moment to relax during a stressful weekend by cuddling up to a special friend.
The 14-year-old Old Barns teenager was one of about a dozen Colchester County youth who participated in the 23rd annual EastGen 4-H Showcase on the weekend at Agridome in Bible Hill. About 85 Atlantic 4-H beef and dairy members between the ages of 13 and 21 learned the latest techniques in show preparation for beef and dairy cattle, calf health, livestock judging, showmanship, clipping, display design, herd management and energy efficiency on a farm.
On Sunday morning, Masters snuggled up to one-year-old dairy calf Cobequid Mercury Gossip in between competitions.
While Masters loves working with larger animals, she admits it can be stressful.
"Anything can go downhill at any time. You never know what the animals will do," said Masters, shortly after placing sixth during a dairy competition. "But I love it. I like the challenge and I like to work and to do well."
The teenager has been a member of the Clifton 4-H Club for five years.
"My great-grandparents, grandparents and parents were all in it. It's expected of me but I love it," she said. "It's harder than it looks because there's a lot of preparing. I spend about eight hours a week in the summer training and washing."
With every competition Masters participates in, she learns more skills, which increases her confidence.
"I figure out more details and new (techniques)," said the teenager, adding she hopes to one day become a veterinarian for big animals.
Onslow Mountain's Katie MacKenzie, 18, is in her second year with the Truro North River (TNR) 4-H Club. She was competing in the beef calf categories on the weekend and was eager to learn from her successes and challenges.
"I love meeting others and learning new things and ... even when things go terribly wrong, I have patience and can still have fun," said MacKenzie.
One of the events she took part in Sunday morning was the beef showmanship competition, in which she placed seventh.
"I would've liked to set up faster in the ring," she said after the event in which she showed one-year-old Lindsay's Roxy.
"Saturday in the ring she wouldn't stay still and made the others move. It was very frustrating and you get nervous because their temperament can change on a dime."
Despite that, MacKenzie had a great time learning new techniques, practicing her skills and meeting new and old friends. And she intends to use her knowledge in the future.
"I want to own a beef farm," she said.
The Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture's Rhonda MacDougall was one of the organizers of the event.
MacDougall said the youth were impressive.
"They were learning and training in advanced skills," said MacDougall, who is a former 4-H member. "And it's a real testament of the program when you see young people coming back as judges and leaders in the industry."