Parent: Keith Withers
Hometown: Coweta, Okla.
4-H Club: Wagoner County 4-H
Club leader: Tammie Beaty
What is your 4-H project?
“I show registered Chianinas, Maintainers and full blood Limousin. I am starting my own show calf herd and plan on keeping my heifers as my seed stock and breeding them through artificial insemination. My Chianina’s name is Candie Cane and Maintainer is Princess Moonlight.”
How did you get started with 4-H?
“I joined 4-H when I was 12 and was influenced by both my grandparents, my aunt and my father, all in 4-H and FFA. It’s kind of a generational thing and I’m happy to carry on the tradition. I go to a private school where agricultural classes are not available. 4-H allows me the opportunity to show my animals and to become eligible for college scholarships.”
Early agricultural memories: “I remember when I was really young, barely walking, I think, when I went and sat on the back of the truck with my grandfather, who used to hand feed the cows in order to keep them accustomed to humans. I was sitting on a turned upside down bucket and watched a cow eat grass cubes with its tongue going all the way up to my grandpa’s elbow.”
Awards: “In 2016, at the fall Wagoner County show, I won Grand Champion Heifer which was particularly cool because we were only getting second or third place when I had shown her before. We brought her up from the pasture only three days before the fair and won.”
What do you do to help out on the farm?
“I feed the show heifers before and after school every day. After school I also walk and wash the heifers plus feeding our other cows and doing other typical ranch chores. When we work the cows, I am learning to pregnant test them before AI, vaccinate and work the head gate which is my favorite part because it gives me a sense of control. I also enjoy being able to talk to them as they enter and leave the area. My animals are vocal and very responsive but only to me. Remembering what my grandfather did, when I go to feed my heifers, I carry a feed bucket but won’t feed them until after they let me touch them. They want the feed as fast as they can get it and know letting me touch them is the only way that’s going to happen.”
What are your future plans?
“When I was 2 or 3, I had a hole in my heart and was fixed through surgery. I can’t do anything for the people who helped me but I can give back to others. Consequently, I want to become a cardiac surgeon and am hoping to attend Harvard, John Hopkins or Oklahoma University. I was chosen to attend a summer medical camp at John Hopkins University based on my SAT test scores.”