The third annual 4-H Stockfest took place this past weekend in Brandon. Stockfest was first organized to bring together the separate provincial livestock events for horse, beef, dairy and sheep 4-H clubs. Rather than having each livestock group meet separately, the Manitoba 4-H Council decided to combine the provincial events into a single event called Stockfest.
"Our numbers were about the same as last year," says chair Diane Kovar, noting the 4-H Council will have to rethink the goal of the event. The beef, dairy and sheep portions of Stockfest were notably absent this year as organizers were forced to drop the sessions due to low registration numbers.
"It's the third year in the program so we'll sit down and review and see where we need to change. One area will be the beef and dairy and seeing what we can do there. Also, seeing what we can do to include multi-purpose clubs in the event," explains Kovar.
"We like the event. We'd like to see it bigger and better. We would like to see a beef show and dairy show, and hopefully sheep in the future," says Trevor Carlson, who will become president of the Manitoba 4-H Council at the council's annual meeting in November.
Kovar and Carlson both say they're not sure why participation numbers are low for certain livestock groups. Location of the event could be one factor and Kovar says they are considering moving the event for next year. The timing may have hindered attendance, as most beef animals are still out on pasture and are not ready for showing. The late harvest this year could also have been a reason for members choosing to not attend.
Around 75 4-H members, most of them from equine-focused clubs, participated this year's Stockfest.