Face of 4-H rodeo

Farm Forum

Ordinarily the 4-H program is known for its focus on four personal development areas for young people: head, heart, hands and health.

But this past weekend in Fort Pierre, where the object at the Central South Dakota 4-H Rodeo was to let young 4-H members hone their skills while competing as rodeo athletes, the emblem might as well have stood for horse, hands, heart and how-to … and maybe hats.

Some 238 athletes competed in 20 different events as the Central South Dakota 4-H Rodeo marked its 45th year. They were competing not just to win; getting fourth or better in an event will move them on to the State Finals 4-H Rodeo, to be held in Fort Pierre from Aug. 15-17.

For the uninitiated, young 4-H members offered some tips for stirring up a recipe for rodeo athletes:

• Start them young. “I’ve been riding since I could walk, really,” said Sidney Carey of Huron, sitting astride her horse, Kimmy, while waiting to compete in goat tying. “I’ve been doing 4-H rodeo since I was 8 years old.”

• Simmer in a household along with some fired-up parents. Chad Stroschein of Dell Rapids – toting his young son, Chace, around, while watching his son Drew and daughter Hannah compete on Saturday would be just the right sort of ingredient. “My boy just won flags, and my daughter’s leading in barrels,” an elated Stroschein said at about midday Saturday.

• Don’t leave out the secret 4-H ingredient – fun. “You’ve got to try your best,” said young Cord Korkow, of Pierre, who had already qualified for several events at the upcoming State Finals 4-H Rodeo. “It’s all about being with friends and having fun, being outside in the summer, being with horses – fun.”