For over 150 years, the Portage Industrial Exhibition has been a summer staple for residents of the Central Plains and guests who are visiting from all over the country. For many kids and teenagers, the fair is all about the rides, the food and the entertainment, but agriculture has always been the backbone of the event.

When the 152nd version of the Portage Ex begins Friday morning, it will be 4-H members that are first on the scene bright and early as they prepare for the opening event, the 4-H Interclub Grooming Competition.

Brock Sigurdson is a senior member of the Oakville 4-H Beef Club and he says preparation for the Ex began last year.

"Since last fall actually, we all get our animal ready for this one day. All the work comes down to this. We'll show our animals off to everyone and they will be judged. And then the big sale happens at 4:30 when we sell our steer off."

When it comes to judging, several things are scrutinized and Sigurdson commented on some of things he works on.

"Mostly keeping the hair on them is. It's something I personally like to do as it is a big thing. So you're washing your animal pretty steady in the hot weather. You want the animal to eat and gain for the sale. Sometimes it's sad a little bit too, but usually by the time the fair comes, you're ready to move on. I've been with 4-H for 8 years; it is something that's really helped me out everywhere. Not only cattle but meeting new people and making lots of friends."

Jamie Murray has been with the Portage 4-H Beef Club for 4 years and is also showing at this year's Ex.

"My steer Mustang is at my uncle's farm. We go as much as we can and sometimes, I will spend a few hours there. When it comes to the competition sometimes the judges may ask some questions. And there is always some work to for the grooming event"

Chase (9) and Atlee Wood (11) are with the Oakville club and both have been involved for several years. The young 4-H'ers are both excited about the weekend. On top of the grooming, Atley says making sure the animals are well fed is important.

"You have to feed them twice a day and you can't miss. You want them nice and big for the sale"

The Friday sale is always one of the biggest events of the exhibition, but she adds they are also happy to take part in other areas of the fair including the rides. As much fun as that can be, both say the 4H events are their favourite part.

A full weekend of activity starts Friday morning at the cattle ring.

9:00 am – 4-H Interclub Grooming Competition
11:00 am – 4-H Interclub Showmanship Competition
11:30 am – Open Lamb Class

4-H groupAtlee Wood, Chase Wood, Jamie Murray and Brock Sigurdson joined the Country 93 morning show this week.