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4-H Roundup is family affair

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By Ada Lang

Although the youngest children who participate in 4-H must be at least five years old, some as young as 2 years old came out with their families to find out what it’s all about. 

Caleb and Nikki Smith, from Williston, were in Bronson Saturday morning to sign up two of their children, Tristan, 8, and Clayton, 10, for their first year in 4-H.  They also brought their two younger daughters and a nephew with them.

Nikki Smith said Tristan was following in her own footsteps and was  planning to raise a steer. When Tristan was asked why, she said, “Because I like cows and you can train them."  Smith said she raised steers for 4-H as a young woman and added that Tristan was raised around cows her entire life. 

Smith said her daughter was ready to raise a steer last year, but she found out Tristan was still too young to participate. "There was a lot of drama," she said.

Smith's son, Caleb, signed up to raise hogs, just like his father did when he was a young man. If the family's youngest children were upset about being too young to join in the 4-H fun, it was hard to tell by the amount of time they spent coloring, drawing animal paw prints and making door hangers. 

The Owens family, of Bronson, are another example of a family with a history in 4-H. 

Mike Owens Jr. said he raised steers as a child, and his wife, Fawn, who was raised near the water in Yankeetown, was in the Marine Science program. Now, their son Michael III, age 11, has jumped into 4-H with both feet. 

Michael's family said he has participated in photography, raised a feeder calf and won a couple bakeoff contests. On Saturday, he won a blue ribbon in his age group in the chicken barbeque competition. 

Michael's 5-year-old sister, Casey is in the 4-H Wildlife Club and has raised poultry and rabbits. Little brother Tucker, who is only 2, seems to be getting ready for a 4-H future as well. He wore overalls with John Deere tractors on them and tiny cowboy boots and was all smiles as he posed for a photograph with his three-generation 4-H family.