A convoy of Valley trailers will soon be headed down the 401 to Toronto for the Royal Winter Fair. Among them will be nine 4-H members from Southwest Quebec who have been selected to participate in the prestigious TD Canadian 4-H Dairy Classic from November 5 to 7.
This year’s team includes Connor Bryson, Félix Loiselle, Vincent Proulx, Murray Bryson, Maeve McIntyre, Keith Quinn, Roewan Cosgrove, Madison Peddie, and Geordie Woods. The team features several members who have experience showing at the Royal, and some for whom this will be their first time walking into the big ring.
“It is a summer-long process,” says Loiselle, who will be competing for the first time. “We choose a calf we believe will do well in June. Then we practice and compete all summer to be able to be selected to participate in the final in Toronto,” he explains.
“We all put a lot of time working with our heifers and learning how to be better showmen, and with each show this season I could see the improvement,” says McIntyre, who will also be participating for the first time in the event. “I am eager to see the scene of a show barn during such an honourable and prestigious show: everyone working together to ensure the comfort of their animals, and the organized chaos of the teamwork it takes to get the animals to perfection,” she says.
Peddie agrees, noting she is also looking forward to finding herself in the show barn once again after participating in the Royal last year. This will be her first time showing during the TD Classic, however, and she is especially proud to be able to continue a family tradition of showing on the big stage.
“It is special because it is like nationals in sports,” says Quinn. As this year represents his first representing the Southwest Quebec region, he says he is especially looking forward to watching and learning from some of the best showmen in the country. As is Woods, who is also looking forward to seeing friends he has made over the past three years at the Royal. “It is truly a special sight to see so many people with the same love for dairy cattle and showing,” he says, noting it is also an honour to represent his home region.
The team is currently fundraising and looking for sponsors to help cover the costs of trucking the animals to Toronto, as well as the travel expenses for each member. Businesses or individuals interested in helping can reach out to the team directly via their Facebook page Québec 4H/South West.