Calgary (Rural Roots Canada) – The Calgary Stampede has launched the OH Branded Beef Youth Ambassador program aimed at giving youth, between the ages of 14 and 18, who may not normally get the chance to raise cattle the opportunity to do so.

Brett Warder, Manager of Agriculture and Western Events Operations, says the Stampede decided in the first year of ownership of the OH Ranch in 2012 that it was going to be a cow-calf operation.

He says this created the perfect opportunity to help youth and elevate their brand.

“They get to come out and actually learn about the land, learn about the cattle out there,” says Warder.

They then get to take one of them home to raise it.

At the end of the year, they get to come back to Stampede during our Junior Steer Classic and show in an OH Branded Beef class.

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He says the students selected for the program wouldn’t normally be associated with cattle and, in some cases, livestock in general.

“They had to fill out an application, where they had to do a little bit of an essay.”

He says there were 15 applications, more than they expected. So, they selected 12 out of those applications.

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Warder says the learning experience started the day the youth selected their steers, including Stampede CEO Joel Cowley who is a steer judge down in the U.S.

“He gave the youth some insight into what judges are looking for in steers.”

The day also included a talk from veterinarian Dr. Troy Drake who talked about feed and nutrition.

“The youth were getting some education on how to show, what to look for, how to feed, and all that stuff.”

The OH Ranch Branded Beef Youth Ambassador initiative is the only program of its kind offered in Canada.