A local 4-H team has distinguished itself as the best in the state and will now go up against the best in the country.
The Peninsula Wranglers from Kenai are preparing for nationals in Louisville, Kentucky next month. Katie Cooper, Gracie Rankin, Elora Reichert and Colton Rankin are the first team to ever represent the 49th state at a national 4-H competition.
That’s the team that took the state crown in May in Fairbanks. Didn’t know there was a state crown to win? Colton Rankin has a quick rundown.
“This was the Alaska State Livestock contest’s sixth year. It involves the competitors practicing for long amounts of time to get all the knowledge and prepare for the contest. It’s comprised of many segments, such extemporaneous public speaking, quiz bowl and skill-a-thon.”
Gracie Rankin has the public speaking part down.
“Skill-a-thon is a many segmented part of the contest with stations where you need to identify feeds, breeds, equipment. You need to judge hay, meat and wool. There’s also a segment for quality assurance where you need to be able to kind of dissect a medicine label and be able to identify the different parts of it.”
Even with those more academic aspects, there is still a focus on raising and marketing livestock, Reichert says.
“That money goes towards college and buying cars and just a small start to life. It really teaches us about business and responsibility for animals. We also have to keep a record book throughout the year for everything we do with these animals so it teaches us a lot of responsibility, how to live as a young adult.” (0:17)
Katie Cooper is a senior, and this will be her only year on the team. She’s raised chickens before, but wanted to hone some other skills.
“This is a great experience to go down to Kentucky, learn the agriculture down there and bring back some ideas for agriculture and for the next farmers in Alaska; to be able to sustain the state without the crutch of the Lower 48.”
The team is looking to raise about $2,000 per member for room and board during their trip to Kentucky next month. Lean more here.