Kids showcase head, heart, hands, and health at 4-H fair

Bethany Conberselane petting her brothers steer Curly Bill in 4-H 2023
Posted at 8:53 AM, Jul 26, 2023

HELENA — The 2023 4-H fair is underway in Helena. 4-H stands for head, heart, hand, and health. Over the past year a healthy number of students, 272 in all, have used their heads to come up with a project or several projects and put their full heart into presenting it hands-on for the judges.

Fourth-year 4-H member, Coll Petre, started off only taking care of pigs.

"The pigs are kind of, they're easy. There's just water them and then water them down," said Coll.

Now, it's Coll's first time taking care of two animals for 4-H, both a pig and a steer, and says it's a big responsibility.

"It takes your summers not really away, but you have more responsibility during your summer than just like hanging out with your friends or going out on the lake and stuff like that. You have more responsibility to take care animals, make sure they're watered and fed and not too hot," said Coll.

4-H runs in the Petre family. Coll's older brother, Carter, has been a part of 4-H for several years, and like Coll, Carter started off by raising a pig as well and remembers the first time he moved up to take care of a steer when he was younger.

"It was definitely a different thing. I mean, it was kind of scary at the start because they're I mean, their big. Steers are big," said Carter

A couple of years ago, Carter moved up to caring for both a steer and a pig and always enjoys being part of the fair.

"I've had a steer and a pig at the same time. It's a great experience. You get to make money and it's really awesome just being down here with all the people," said Carter.

The youngest sibling in competition for the Petre family, Lane, was there in his first year of 4-H, .

Montana 4-H is the largest out-of-school youth development program in the state. 4-H serves nearly 25,000 Montana kids in all 56 counties each year. Helping educate young Montanans about the workforce and around 400 of those kids are a part of 4-H in Lewis and Clark County.

Students like Bethany Conberselane, who's been a club member for 5 years, say it's all about the experience.

"It's not all about the money. You learn a lot and you learn how to be responsible and how to talk to people and just present yourself as a better person," said Conberselane.

There is a level of importance when it comes to understanding the finances of raising livestock and farmers like Coll, Carter, Lane, and Bethany could be the future of Montana agriculture.