Cows for College

{gallery}/07_27_10/college cows{/gallery} If you ask most kids what they got for their very first birthday present most of them have no clue. If you ask Sydney Baldwin what hers was, she’ll give you a big toothy smile and say, “a cow, from my grandpa.”

Some may say a cow is a strange birthday present, but when your grandparents are Rick and Linda Anderson and your parents are Jodi (Anderson) and Steve Baldwin it makes more sense. The next question that comes to mind, even with her family background is, why give a cow to a one-year old? It’s pretty clear to her grandfather, “I wanted her to get her start from her granddad. When I was a kid my granddad gave me a calf when I was young. She was my first grandkid so it just seemed right.” Most 4-H and FFA members use their winnings from fair and other shows to not only build their own herd of animals, but also to supplement scholarship money for college or to pay for college outright.

After Sydney received the cow, it was time to decide on the bull to breed her to. Her dad had her look through a magazine that he described as, “kind of a Playboy magazine for breeding stock, with centerfolds of bulls and all.” From that magazine, Sydney picked out a bull named M&M. It’s an obvious choice for a young girl, but the results of that choice were surprising.One of the first calves from Hanna, Sydney’s first cow, was purchased by 1st year steer showman Kristin Wyatt of Eagle Point. Wyatt, who is a story all by herself, 3.9 GPA, Honor Roll, 1st team all conference volleyball, 2010 Pear Blossom Queen, future Butte College Roadrunner volleyball player and daughter of Carol and Steve Wyatt of Eagle Point, raised the steer, taking him to the Jackson County Fair in 2009. Having shown multiple different animals in the fair in previous years she had some experience, but nothing to prepare her for being the overall Reserve Grand Champion Market Steer and selling her steer for $4.50 per pound. Wyatt was also kind enough to ask Sydney to accompany her into the auction ring when her steer sold to carry the buckle and signs awarded to the number 2 market steer in the county.

Wyatt was also quick to point out that her steer was, “bred locally, born locally, raised locally, shown locally and purchased at auction by la ocal company, Cascade Wood.” Wyatt went looking outside the area because of difficulties getting the Baldwin cows bred, but when she found out the brother of her steer from the previous year was available, the decision was easy. This year Kirstin got 2nd place in her market class and sold number 25.
While a lot of kids Sydney’s age are perfectly fine with video games, TV and just playing, Sydney seems to thrive on being surrounded by livestock, “I’m taking on a lot of responsibility,” she says while on barn duty for a 4-H club she isn’t old enough to join for another two years. At the same time, her dad knows that if called upon she is perfectly comfortable pulling the boards for irrigation, and it’s not unusual for her to separate out her heifers from the rest of the herd in order to work with them.

Sydney currently has her own herd of cattle which eventually will become her college fund. The heifers are her current project, and she showed one of them at fair this year. In classes with others twice her age she didn’t win, but the judge offered her great praise for being so young and stepping up to show well at such a young age.

One’s pedigree doesn’t always ensure success, but  in this case of a family legacy being passed on to the next generation, it seems to be a certainty.
By Mike Leonard
For the Independent

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