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4-Her makes Clearwater County history at Minnesota State Fair

Tyler Strandberg, a 4-Her with the Eddy Energetics 4-H Club in Clearbrook, is shown with his registered black Angus steer at the Minnesota State Fair.

By Anne Williams, Special to the Pioneer

ST. PAUL  – A 16-year-old from Clearbrook made Clearwater County history by being the first 4-Her from the county in recent decades to show livestock in the Minnesota State Fair Premier Livestock Auction.

Tyler Strandberg, a 4-Her with the Eddy Energetics 4-H Club, was among 13 4-Hers from Clearwater County who arrived at the 2012 “Great Minnesota Get-Together” for this year’s 4-H livestock encampment Aug. 23-26. Strandberg received a Reserve Champion ribbon for his Registered Black Angus Steer, qualifying him to show in the State Fair’s Premier Livestock Auction.

“I was shocked,” Strandberg said. “I didn’t think my steer was going to make it in to the auction, but the judge decided the reserve champions would go.”

During the Premier Livestock Auction, 20 percent of the bids a market animal receives is contributed to 4-H to be used for programs that benefit youth, while 2 percent of the bids goes toward funding the AgStar Arena, the fair’s newest building. The 4-Her showing the market animal in the auction then keeps 78 percent of the bids.

“Somebody told us Clearwater County hadn’t had an animal in the auction for more than 30 years,” said Steve Norman, who chaperoned the Clearwater County 4-H group at the State Fair. “It was new to us. We started calling individuals and businesses in Clearwater County to raise money for the auction. We raised nearly $4,600 in less than an hour.”

Anastasia Kilde of Shevlin, a member of the Jack Pine Pals 4-H Club, received a Grand Champion placing in the overall Havana rabbit breed class and a Reserve Champion placing in the Havana senior doe class. Julianna Mord of Gonvick, a member of the Midnight Riders 4-H Club, received a Grand Champion placing in dairy goat senior showmanship.

4-Hers who received blue ribbons at the State Fair were RJ Aufforth of Bagley, a member of the LaPrairie Bobcats 4-H Club, for his Registered Charolais; Mord for her Alpine dairy goat, and Austin Petterson of Clearbrook, a member of the Leon Ramblers 4-H Club, for his Registered Duroc February Gilt swine.

Other 4-Hers who qualified to show livestock exhibits at the state fair were Rylee Aufforth of Bagley, Emily Bellefy and Megan Bellefy of Bagley, Bryce Evje of Shevlin, Samantha Johnson of Clearbrook, Brenda Norman of Shevlin and Tanner Petterson of Clearbrook.

“It was pretty exciting,” Norman said. “To see these kids from our county do well down there among the best of the best was really great.”

4-Hers have been preparing for this event all summer long. There are several components a 4-Her considers when deciding to exhibit livestock, including selection and preparation of the animal, educational programming, scholarship applications and participation at county fairs.

Along with interviews, all 4-H youth participating in livestock programming are required to complete Livestock Quality Assurance and Ethics Training. Through this certification, youth are educated on biosecurity, educating the public on the role of livestock, and caring for their animal’s welfare.

This year at the State Fair, the 4-H building hosted more than 2,990 exhibits, 320 County Arts-In and Share the Fun participants. Last year, more than 131,045 youth in Minnesota participated in 4-H programs.

According to a Tufts University national study, 4-H youth are more likely to have better grades, are more emotionally engaged with school, and see themselves going to college. They are less likely to have risky or problem behaviors or experience depression. They are also more likely to be civically active and make contributions to their communities.

The 4-H program is funded through a partnership of federal, state, county and private resources and is part of the University of Minnesota Extension Service.

More Minnesota State Fair results and photos are at

ANNE WILLIAMS is 4-H program coordinator for Clearwater County.