Lifestyle

North Bend brothers raise Spring Fair critters

A member of the Middle Fork Meaters 4-H Club, North Bend’s Jake Springfellow will show and sell his Suffolk lambs at the Puyallup Spring Fair. - Courtesy photo
A member of the Middle Fork Meaters 4-H Club, North Bend’s Jake Springfellow will show and sell his Suffolk lambs at the Puyallup Spring Fair.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

Two North Bend brothers are busy getting some very special animals ready for the upcoming Puyallup Spring Fair.

Andrew and Jake Springfellow are busy training and feeding steer and lambs for the Northwest Junior Livestock Show and Sale, to be held April 14 to 18 at the Western Washington Fairgrounds in Puyallup.

The livestock show is a 63-year old tradition in swhich 4-H and FFA youth spend up to three days showing their prize animals, then selling them at a live market auction at the end of the fair.

Andrew, a ninth grade student at Mount Si High School, will show his Hereford market steer, “Sherman,” while Jake, a sixth grade student at Twin Falls Middle School, is competing with two market lambs, “Short Stack” and “Choo Choo.” The boys have had to feed and care for their own animals, purchasing feed, charting their growth, making adjustments to their hay and grain, and grooming them. It’s hard work, especially during the winter when water buckets are frozen and they have to break up the ice before and after school.

But it’s also fun. The boys are part of the Middle Fork Meaters 4-H Livestock club, and meet monthly to discuss their projects. They work with their animals daily, walking them, training them to show, and even giving Sherman his daily treats and back scratch. In addition to these show animals, the brothers are managing more livestock at home. Jake’s flock includes a ram and five Suffolk ewes who together produced eight lambs this spring. Andrew’s small herd of Angus cows birthed one young bull in March; at least one more is expected in April.

Andrew and Jake are looking for buyers for their livestock at the sale that takes place at the Spring Fair. Buyers can participate in several ways. The first is outright purchase of the animal at the auction, for the buyer’s own freezer.

The second is a cooperative purchase through the South King County Buyers Committee, in which buyers can purchase a half or quarter of the animal.

The third method is simply through a donation to the SKCBC. All proceeds go to support the prices to youth who are bringing livestock to be sold at the sale. Since the early 1990s, 4-H and FFA programs have raised more than $1.5 million through the livestock auction.

• Contact the Middle Fork Meaters 4-H Club by calling (425) 888-9170. Or, contact the South King County Buyers Committee at (253) 804-6983.

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