It's a win fit for a final year in 4-H: Peter Weitzel won his first grand champion prize at the group's annual Achievement Days at the North Peace Fall Fairgrounds last weekend.
Weitzel, of Wonowon 4-H, had this year's Grand Champion Steer, a 1,564-pound Simmental named Buddy from the breeders at Crystal Springs Ranch. Buddy was born last March, and weaned at 980 pounds. He added another 600 by the time judges had a look at him Saturday, July 6, and remarked at the “phenomenal piece of beef.”
“What the judge was looking for was how finished he was, meaning how much fat cover he has, and then how much muscle he has, which is your meat,” Weitzel said, adding it felt good to win the honours.
Buddy sold after the show for $3.50 per pound to Buds Vac Service; the reserve champion, a steer from Laycee Wiebe of Prespatou 4-H, weighed 1,554 pounds and sold for $3.50/lb to Save-On Foods.
Weitzel raised four cattle this year, and is the last in his line of siblings who have gone through 4-H, learning animal stewardship and leadership skills. Ranching is in his family's blood and roots, though there are some standard things any 4-Her needs to look for when selecting their steer, Weitzel said.
First, they need to choose a steer they know will perform come Achievement Days, and then be up to the hard task of getting the animal ready for exhibition throughout the fall, winter, and spring.
“He was just a big, chonky, muscular calf,” Weitzel said of Buddy.
“They need to be fed twice a day, they need to be halter broke, they need to be clipped, they need to be groomed,” he added.
Weitzel, 18, is finishing his time in 4-H as president of the Wonowon club and as an ambassador for the program in the North Peace, emceeing events and promoting the hard work of its clubs.
Over the last nine years, Weitzel said he's learned how to take care of and judge cattle. But the biggest life skill he’s gained is public speaking, he said.
“I wouldn’t have been able to talk to you when I first started,” he said.
Weitzel heads to New Zealand early next year to attend bible school and spend some time backpacking. When he returns home, he plans to study ranch management at either Olds or Lakeland college.
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