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Beltrami County Fair: 4-H family to show range of livestock

Gilbertson family members, from left, Christopher, 16, Shelly, Joshua, 10, Chelsea, 8, and John, are preparing for the Beltrami County Fair Aug. 10-14. Pioneer Photo/Molly Miron

Farming and raising livestock is a long tradition for the family of John and Shelly Gilbertson.

They calved about 60 cows this year. Christopher, 16, rides his mare, Kit, in rodeos as a heeler in team roping. Joshua, 10, raises and show pigs and Chelsea shows her goats, Zuzu and Minnie.

The Gilbertsons are members of the Deer Lake Flyers 4-H Club and will show their specialty animals at the Beltrami County Fair, which will run Wednesday, Aug. 10, to Sunday, Aug. 14.

The 4-H members also will show cattle.

"Each kid has a different breed," said John. We have Herefords, Red Angus, Simmental."

Christopher said he hopes to continue the family farming tradition. He said he enjoys getting hay and corn harvested and breaking calves. He also said he hopes to ride in the Triple B Rodeo at the County Fair Friday and Saturday.

"He's played with a rope since he was big enough to walk," said John.

Christopher also uses his roping skills for actual farm work.

"He goes over and helps a couple of the neighbors when they're vaccinating," John said.

Josh said he especially likes pigs and furrowed out a litter of 12 this year.

"I think they're fun to play with," he said.

His show pigs are Lightning, Betsy, Murphy and Neon.

Chelsea said she likes goats because they are easy to handle.

John and Shelly are also active in 4-H as co-leaders of the Deer Lake Flyers with Joel and Polly Rohde.

"We've got the largest club in the county - 56 kids," John said.

He is also vice president of the local Farm Bureau and on the County Extension and Fair Board. He said the Beltrami County Fair is the fifth or sixth biggest in Minnesota.

This week, when the livestock moves in, the Gilbertsons will fill 22 slots in the beef barn with their animals.

"That's one thing about 4-H," said John. "It will bring them up with a good work ethic."