For more than three decades now, the Bashaw Agricultural Grounds have played host to the pinnacle of cattle shows in Alberta and it continues to grow.
The 34th annual Bashaw Agricultural Show kicked off Aug. 16 with the National Young Cattleman’s, Western Canadian Team Judging Finals, the UFA Supreme Quest and the Canadian National All-Breeds junior show competition.
Sarah Wray, one of the show’s committee members, said this year the event has drawn around 155 entrants from across the province as well as some from Saskatchewan with competitors ranging in age from as young as three right up to 21.
“A lot of the people involved came through the original program as kids, laid the foundation and became an example for other shows,” she said.
“That’s how they became qualifying events for this show. Our experiences have been shared and its helped expand a number of these youth programs. The numbers seems to keep growing and that’s a great thing to see.”
Now the show is strictly about cattle, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the young competitors are all involved in 4-H or that they even live on a farm, Wray explained, something that has also helped continue growth in the programs.
“It’s been pretty cool to see that happen, where some of the competitors don’t live on a farm or are even from a rural area,” she stated.
“But, they have a friend or family — like an uncle or grandparent — that do run a farm and they are exposed to something outside of what they normally find and they wind up wanting to get into it more.
“The programs, kind of like what 4-H does too, is about helping the youth build a solid foundation with good life skills that can transfer into real life and be used later on. It’s just all done in a different format.”
Wray added that because of her involvement in the programs, she has been able to build a vast network of friends across the country, far outside of the small circle that can be rural Alberta.
“You can develop life-long friendships that may end up helping or providing direction on a career path one may never have thought about before,” she said.
“Through mentorship, these programs help continue to build upon that by cycling through the generations and breeding a desire in people to do their best.”
The results of the four competitions were unavailable at press time and will be in the Aug. 30 edition of the Star.