Meaningful 4-H days: Special purpose stems from struggle

RANDOLPH, Ohio – Terry Day of Ravenna, Ohio, wasn’t able to finish the school year last spring with the rest of his classmates.

And he wasn’t able to continue his promising high school wrestling career.

Despite Day’s lifestyle changes since recently being diagnosed with diabetes, there has been a positive result – Day has used this extra time to devote more time to his steers and 4-H.

Although Day, 17, has always been a strong showman with winning steers, this year was an extra big one. His steer came in the top 10 at the state fair, in addition to winning market grand champion and winning showmanship at Portage County’s Randolph Fair.

Special ties. With his increased attention on his steers, Day said 4-H has taken on a special meaning. He is now able to devote more time and energy to preparing his animals and being involved with 4-H.

Day said he worked with his steers every day and went to preview shows to log extra time with his animals. And when he was having a bad day or feeling drained, his parents, Kenny and Peggy Day, and sister, Cristin, didn’t mind helping out, he said.

After sticking with 4-H and his steers despite having days when he was too tired to move, Day said these wins have been an extra-meaningful accomplishment.

Experienced showman. Since learning of his diabetic condition almost two years ago, Day has won two showmanship titles. In addition, he won grand champion market steer at the fair in 2000 and reserve champion in 1998. Day had the reserve champion steer carcass in 1997. His steer also won best groomed this year.

Day is humble and doesn’t want all the credit to himself. He credits the Don Smith family for helping him pick winning animals and teaching him tricks of the trade.

Smith, of Randolph, Ohio, has sold Day many steers in his eight years of 4-H. Smith said he couldn’t be more excited or proud of what Day has accomplished this year.

Bright future. These days, Day is feeling stronger and healthier and started off his senior year this week with the rest of his classmates. Although he won’t be wrestling anymore, he’ll stay dedicated to his steer projects.

And after his 4-H days are over and he’s finished high school, Day hopes to go to Ohio State University or University of Akron to major in engineering.

When asked if he feels the slightest twinge of regret at the thought of selling his champion animal, Day says yes. However, he says he’ll get another steer this fall and start the process all over – hopefully having a final year of 4-H as exciting as this one.

(You can contact Kristy Alger at 1-800-837-3419, ext. 23, or by e-mail at kalger@farmanddairy.com.)

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