Saturday, February 24, 2018

Josie Hammond holds her steer at her Busby ranch. She has competed in the 4-H Youth Fair’s market beef competitions for six years.

Josie Hammond taps into local community through 4-H leadership

Josie Hammond, a Hardin High School senior, has participated in 4-H for around 11 years – more than half of her life. As a junior leader in the organization, she enjoys the chance to “get into the community and help others.”
Her work as a leader – aiding younger members, organizing events and participating in 4-H’s monthly meetings – is done under unusual circumstances. Her older sister Molly has served as Big Horn County’s agriculture and 4-H extension agent since spring 2014.
“I think it’s definitely changed how much I’m involved,” said Josie, who became a junior leader about two years ago. “I need to step up a lot more with her being in it.”
According to Molly, having a younger sister in 4-H allows her to get the “youth perspective” on issues. Through the organization, she hopes Josie learns more about responsibility, leadership and community service.
“There are a lot of life skills you learn through 4-H,” Molly said. 
Josie will be competing in the 2017 Big Horn County Youth Fair on the subjects of market beef and quilting. Quilting is a habit she shares with her mother and sister. Taking care of steers comes with the territory – she lives on a ranch near Busby.
In 2016, she won a purple ribbon for quilting and took home the “Overall Needlework Award.” In the realm of beef, she earned a blue ribbon for market beef conformation and a red ribbon in the senior division of beef showmanship.
Her quilt this year follows a churn dash pattern – in other words, a pattern featuring squares with outward-pointing triangles for corners. The time necessary to finish a quilt, she said, depends on how hard one works on it. Last year, it took her about a month and a half.
As for her steer, Josie has been feeding it “morning and night” over the winter and summer. Two months before the fair, she’ll begin giving it baths and get used to leading it around, as is done on an earth-filled arena during the fair. Steers, she said, are judged based on shape and muscle structure.
“[It should be] pretty even all around,” she said. “You don’t want too much fat, because otherwise your meat would be fatty.”
A week before fair, like many 4-H members before her, Josie will trim up her steer for the main event and display her quilt, compressing months of work into a final one-week period starting July 31.
If everything goes according to schedule, Josie will be competing Aug. 3 in the market animal section, along with 42 other members and their steers.