Bouncing back from lackluster participation last year, Brookings Livestock Company 4-H now boasts 20 members with animal projects for this year's Curry County Fair.
"Ann Whaley, John Jacobson and myself got things going and encouraged everyone to join," said Marion Carrillo, who teaches third grade at Kalmiopsis School.
Distributing handouts through the school and listing the club's meeting times in The Pilot generated a good response, said Carrillo.
Many more children wanted to join but didn't sign up by the deadline, said Carrillo, whose daughters Rachel and Michelle have been active in 4-H for several years.
"So we're on a roll," said Carrillo. "Now we need support from business because we have all these animals to auction off."
Club members are raising 44 market animals 23 lambs, 19 pigs and two steer for the auction, not counting rabbits, guinea pigs and poultry.
That means a lot of time spent on care, feeding and training of the animals, with opportunities to teach children important skills.
"They develop speaking skills for presentations, and how to dress," said Carrillo. "They learn how to answer judges' questions and show the animals."
Charlotte Smith, 10, who has a mini-Rex rabbit, described some of the things she has learned as she gets ready to show it at the fair.
"I have to get her to flip over, stretch her legs," said Charlotte, "get used to doing the show parts, where you do showmanship."
The club's meetings were held at Kalmiopsis until summer break, and since then have been held at Town and Country Animal Clinic in Harbor.
Topics at meetings include record-keeping, feeding and weigh-in, worming and medications, said Marion Carrillo.
One of the advantages of 4-H is learning skills not taught in handbooks and manuals, said 16-year-old Michelle Carrillo.
"When I first started out with my lamb, I didn't know much," said Michelle. "There's a handbook, but you learn stuff like how to maintain eye contact from others."
Having a calm animal makes a big difference in how easy it is to raise and train animals for presentation at auction, explained Rachel Carrillo, 11.
"Otherwise, it's hard to get to know them and stuff," said Rachel, "because they're all jumpy and won't do what you want."
Rachel's pig may not be skittish, but it isn't complacent, either.
"My dad came home and found the pigs running around the deck," said Rachel, adding her pig chased the family's dog.
"We decided to call her Freedom because she had her freedom that day," said Rachel.
Alycia Jacobson, 11, agreed training sheep was a lot of work, but said that it's fun.
"For the first couple of weeks, I just walked it around with a halter," said Alycia, adding she has started rehearsing for the auction with her father.
See 4-H, Page 6B"I started acting like he was the judge and I was showing the sheep," said Alycia.
Alycia's father, veterinarian John Jacobson, said he and other 4-H leaders hope local business owners will support 4-H at the fair's livestock auction.
"We're looking for a lot of support from community business," said Jacobson. "We have lots of animals, so we need lots of support."