‘Country Nerds’ circle county for Catch-it

I hope everyone had a safe and enjoyable 2013 Snowdown. My experience was losing in the first round of the Snowdown Cribbage Tournament and catching a cold that kept me away from any weekend events.

However, the weekend was not lost. On Sunday, I “Got my Geek On” by loading up a van full of “Country Nerds” and heading out all over La Plata County.

These “Country Nerds” are 4-H members and volunteers involved in the La Plata County Fair board’s Catch-it program. The Catch-it program is a great way for our young agrarians to receive guidance and support in taking on a breeding project. In addition, they receive local sponsorship funding to purchase their female animal.

Our members keep up monthly with the Cattlemen’s Association, Greer Gravel, First National Bank, Durango Elks Lodge, WESODI Inc., Ridgeline Construction, Durango Coca-Cola, La Plata County Energy Council and the Animas Valley 4-H Club to let these kind sponsors know how their lives and projects are going. It is a terrific way to teach responsibility, kindness and building positive community partnerships.

This year we have three first-year beef project and three second-year beef project participants. Sunday was our first Catch-it tour of the year to check in on all the heifers. We started west of Hesperus, made our way to the Florida Mesa, down to Ignacio and ended out on Saul’s Creek outside Bayfield.

Each stop allowed the youths to show off their heifers, explain what they have been feeding it and ask questions.

This allowed the volunteer leaders to give advice on possible better feeding, maintenance and winter care-taking tips. It also allowed all members to compare their heifers with others.

Furthermore, it was just a great opportunity for our members and volunteers to gain team-building skills. The van ride was full of great discussions celebrating our agriculture traditions.

Don’t let the cowboy hats, boots and belt buckles fool you. Thanks to Nona Patcheck, Keanna Smith, Garrett Van Den Burg, Bryannah Isiordia, Michael Semler and Kaniesha Valley for helping me get my “Country Geek” on.

In other great news, 4-H Rabbit Camp is coming up. They will be hopping around all weekend March 1-3 at the La Plata County Fairgrounds. Rabbit Camp will allow campers to show their rabbits and provide them an excellent opportunity to experience what goes on behind the scenes at a rabbit show. Workshops will include showmanship, judging, records, interviews and creative design on how to compete on a state and national level.

The camp is open to all 4-H and potential 4-H members. Please call the Extension office or Raejean Riegel at 588-3370 for more information or to register.

Finally, I would like to highlight the Westside Wranglers 4-H Club’s winter community service event. Currently, it is doing a coat drive. There are two big boxes outside the Extension office where you can drop them off. Thanks for your support.

felsengh@co.laplata.co.us or 382-6463. Greg Felsen is La Plata County 4-H youth development agent.