Ag’s bright lights hailed by International Youth Livestock program
CALGARY – Cameron Olson doesn’t just love agriculture. He lives it.
Olson, 19, of Calgary, has completed one year of studies at that venerable institution, Texas A&M University, in College Station, Texas, where he’s taking animal science – and, of course, rooting for the Aggies.
“Yeah, I think that’s a required course,” he said Saturday with a laugh.
Olson was an urbanite for the first 10 years of his life before his parents moved the family out to a farm southeast of Calgary. Olson took a shine to agriculture, especially after his folks started a small herd of purebred cattle, and that’s where he sees his professional life taking him.
“I’m thinking I will probably go into reproduction of some sort – genetics, semen technologies, something like that,” said Olson. “I’m thinking about coming home when I’m finished down there, and taking a master’s in business.
“The advancements in the past 50 years have really been amazing, and it’s exciting to think the next 50 years are up to my generation, really,” he added. “The kids showing right now are the ones who are going to take the livestock industry forward.”
The Calgary Stampede’s International Youth Livestock program continues to provide fuel for that fire. On Saturday, the Stampede and its sponsors – Tervita, Bayer CropScience, ConocoPhillips, Enbridge, WA Ranches, the Alberta 4-H Foundation, Ted and Enid Jansen, and the Calgary Stampede Foundation – presented their annual array of post-secondary scholarships to future leaders of agriculture. The number of recipients (55) and total scholarship dollars ($65,000) are the most in program history, and gifts of belt buckles and jackets for all scholarship winners bring this year’s expenditure to just over $80,000 – nearly double the program’s 2011 total.
The International Youth Livestock program’s 55 scholarship recipients were named at the conclusion of the Summer Synergy show — a week-long collaboration between the Stampede and the Olds Agricultural Society in Olds, Alta., that wrapped up on Stampede Park. About 350 competitors from across Western Canada, with about 600 head of livestock in tow, took part in the 2012 Summer Synergy show this year by exhibiting animals in sheep, dairy, or beef species classes.
All 55 International Youth Livestock scholarship recipients took a bow Saturday night on stage at Stampede Park during the evening Grandstand Show.
Four senior-aged IYLS participants, aged 15 to 20, from across Alberta were awarded scholarships in the amount of $3,000 – Andie Hadway of Didsbury (beef), Casey Morey of Ferintosh (dairy), Tessa Nybo of Sundre (beef), and Dakota Townsend of Sylvan Lake (beef). Ten more earned scholarships in the amount of $2,000 – Katelyn Dietrich of Forestburg (beef), Kyle Dodgson of Sangudo (beef), Becky Domolewski of Taber (beef), Raymond Gallelli of Crossfield (beef), Kylee Hebbes of Strathmore (sheep), Brandon Hertz of Duchess (beef), Jaclyn Hunter of Ferintosh (dairy), Luke Marshall of Innisfail (beef), Carling Matejka of Ponoka (beef), and Keltey Whelan of Irricana (beef). And twenty others were granted scholarships for $1,000 – Olson, Margriet Appel of Penhold (dairy), Courtney Black of Foresters Fall, Ont., (beef), Kylina Chalack of Carstairs (beef), Katelyn Crest of Athabasca (dairy), Shallaine Daley of Carstairs (beef), Ty Dietrich of Forestburg (beef), Shae-Lynn Evans of Kenaston, Sask., (beef), Candace Fankhanel of Ferintosh (beef), Stacia Grundberg of Camrose (beef), Michael Haeni of Didsbury (dairy), Travis Hunter of Ferintosh (beef), Lars Iversen of Olds (dairy), Lisa Jakobsen of Olds (dairy), Chad Lorenz of Markerville (beef), Coleman Nixdorff of Airdrie (beef), Dale Palsson of Strathmore (sheep), Rebecca Shuttleworth of Airdrie (beef), Jessica Sperber of Rimbey (beef), and Janet Taylor of Pincher creek (sheep).
In the intermediate category, for participants aged 12 to 14, five young Albertans earned $1,000 IYL scholarships – Halley Adams of Forestburg (beef), Jared Couch of Calgary (beef), Tyson Matejka of Ponoka (beef), Cassidy Matthews of Olds (beef), and Wacey Townsend of Sylvan Lake (beef). Ten others were awarded scholarships in the amount of $500 – Gus Dietrich of Forestburg (beef), Kathryn Dolliver of Stettler (beef), Brandon Fraser of Cochrane (beef), Josie Hadway of Didsbury (beef), Haylea Jones of Carstairs (beef), Kayla Jones of Carstairs (beef), Quinci Jones of Carstairs (beef), Colton McMahon of Forestburg (beef), Cayley Peltzer of Rosemary (sheep), and Shaelyne Williamson of Coaldale (sheep).
For the second year, junior-aged participants, aged 9 to 11, are also on the list, with six young enthusiasts collecting $500 scholarships – Keely Adams of Forestburg (beef), Cailey Church of Airdrie (beef), Justin Couch of Calgary (beef), Landon Hebbes of Strathmore (sheep), Cache McLerie of Sundre (beef), and Jaedan Miller of Didsbury (beef).
Also on Saturday, under the Big Top, four young competitors who displayed exceptional conformation and presentation of their respective species projects were crowned IYL Supreme Champions as part of the 30th annual UFA Steer Classic – Lindsey Papenhuyzen of Stony Plain (Supreme Purebred Beef Champion), Brandon Hertz of Duchess (Supreme Commercial Beef Champion), Katelyn Crest of Athabasca (Supreme Dairy Champion), and Victoria Wehlage of Milk River (Supreme Sheep Champion).
In order to vie for an IYL Supreme Championship, teenaged competitors had already won a red ribbon in the lead-up to Stampede — either at Summer Synergy, the Provincial 4-H Sheep Show, the Provincial 4-H Beef Heifer Show, or the Provincial 4-H Dairy Show, all held at Olds in July.
All International Youth Livestock scholarship winners and Supreme Champions, along with their families, were feted Saturday night during a gala reception entitled Stars of Agriculture in the BMO Centre’s Arabian Room.
In the audience were sponsors, International Youth Livestock alumni, and special Stampede and industry dignitaries.
The Stampede will be webcasting all events being held in the Big Top this year. Visit http://ag.calgarystampede.com/big-top-ustream for live streaming of events under the Big Top.
Groundbreaking will soon begin on one of the most significant infrastructure projects in Stampede history — the Agrium Western Event Centre, which will be the largest facility of its kind in Canada upon completion. For details and artistic renderings of this magnificent 150,000-square-foot agriculture showcase and competition venue, scheduled for completion in 2014, visit http://corporate.calgarystampede.com/about/park-development/agrium-western-event-centre/
For more information, please contact:
Ag Media Committee Chair
Agriculture Media Writer
Agriculture Program Coordinator