Big Valley: the little club that could

4-H has a history of being family-oriented, but the Big Valley club exemplifies the multi-generation aspect of family involvement.

The Big Valley 4-H Beef Club proudly poses in its prize-winning stall at the district show last week in Stettler. In the back row (from left) are Dylan Benjamin and leaders Stacey Benjamin and Doug Duncan. In the middle row (from left) are leader Carly Fahey

The Big Valley 4-H Beef Club proudly poses in its prize-winning stall at the district show last week in Stettler. In the back row (from left) are Dylan Benjamin and leaders Stacey Benjamin and Doug Duncan. In the middle row (from left) are leader Carly Fahey

After a five-year absence, the Big Valley 4-H Beef Club is back in business. It was among the four participating clubs at the Stettler district show last week.

Big Valley formed with the minimum eight members and is the only club in the district with all junior members. Juniors are nine to 11 years of age.

In past years, the Big Valley club was a strong contender in the district competition. In the late 1960s, the organization had the distinction of being the largest 4-H club in Alberta.

“It’s good to be back,” said club leader Doug Duncan.

4-H has a history of being family-oriented, but the Big Valley club exemplifies the multi-generation aspect of family involvement.

Zachary Duncan is the fourth generation of the Duncan family to be involved in the Big Valley beef club. His father, Doug, is the current leader and a former member, while grandfather Dick was recognized for 31 years of leadership with the club. Great-grandfather Alex (Sandy) Duncan, along with Hans Stormoen, founded the Big Valley club in 1952.

The Wilkies have three generations of 4-H members in their family. Owen Wilkie is one of the club’s new members; while his father Clint Wilkie and grandfather Don Wilkie were past Big Valley members.

Two-generation families include the Websters and Browns. Abigail and Jacob Webster, along with their father Dan, as well as Emily and Daniel Brown and their father Doug, make up the second-generation group at Big Valley.

Rookies Hannah Elines and Kyler Kaiser gained their first-year of 4-H experience in the Big Valley club this year.

“I learned to work with cattle and I learned all about cattle,” Zachary Duncan said about his first year in 4-H. “I had fun.”

Duncan had the honour of showing the champion steer of the club.

Owen Wilkie also shared his views of how he enjoyed his first year and what he learned.

“It was good; I loved it,” the young Wilkie said. “I learned how to properly groom and feed a calf.”

Wilkie showed the club’s reserve champion and his steer won the rate-of-gain for the district.

The Big Valley club was awarded best stall display, due largely to the cleanliness and neatness of their stall, according to comments of stall judge Crystal Connell. For their hard work, they received the coveted Bryce and Verna Mailer Award.

“The members were very keen,” leader Duncan said in praising his young members, “I was very proud of them.”

“I hope to see a few more members join the club next year.”

LES STULBERG, Independent reporter