It's common for Moffat County youth to be involved in 4-H programs, but one must have a strong commitment to reach the level of involvement of Anna Lou Velasquez.
Velasquez, who turned 18 on Tuesday, was recently selected 2007 Moffat County Fair Queen. She was also chosen Outstanding 4-H Member at Saturday's achievement awards celebration.
She was the 2006 junior-council secretary and treasurer, as well as a senator.
The nine-year 4-H member was a junior leader in cake decorating, market beef and breeding beef.
She entered nine animals in the 2006 fair, including two steers, two pigs, two cows, two calves and a yearling heifer.
"I did OK at the fair," Velasquez said. "I was grand champion overall in male-calf, but I took dead last with both my steers."
Even though her two market swine were 20 pounds lighter than many entries, she managed a second and a fourth place in the lightweight class.
Velasquez made it to the champion drive for showmanship in swine and beef, and her leather-craft entries of a day-planner and wallet won a champion award at the Moffat County Fair and took fifth at the state fair in Pueblo.
The Maybell resident was selected outstanding Angus exhibitor at the fair, and she also entered a wedding cake in the cake competition that took first place.
Living in rural Northwest Colorado since she was 3, Velasquez was home-schooled her entire life and enjoys the ranching lifestyle.
"I could ride a horse before I could walk," she said. "I'm working now for Cross Mountain Ranch."
She credits 4-H with her close association with many local teenagers and said she runs with the cowboy crowd in Craig.
"As long as I'm not 19, I can still be in 4-H," Velasquez said.
Velasquez will be attending her first event as fair queen this weekend as the fair royalty greets the public at a local hardware store.
Her future plans include either a nursing degree from Mesa State College in Grand Junction, or perhaps a veterinarian career.
Turning 19 years old and going off to college won't be enough to stop Velasquez from continuing with 4-H programs.
"I'll always be involved in 4-H. I enjoy giving something back to the community," she said.
"Even living in the city, you can take shooting sports, or cake decorating. It's a great program."
Dan Olsen can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 207, or firstname.lastname@example.org.