‘Best of both worlds’: Nationally competitive Voloshin family excited to show livestock at Moffat County Fair
It might be hard for longtime Moffat County Fair attendees to imagine a fair without a Voloshin showing a steer or two — and probably winning.
But time is ticking away for the family’s involvement in the 4-H livestock shows at the annual event, as, of the three Voloshin children, only Michael, 17, remains age-eligible for the youth program’s shows.
But that won’t stop the nationally competitive family from putting its all into the local show. Michael will be showing market beef, breeding beef and, for the first time, goats.
“Both sides of our family, my husband’s and my family, have been involved in the livestock industry,” Sue Voloshin said. “4-H was part of my family. My dad showed, so me and my sisters showed. Then my kids show. My husband’s side showed horses through 4-H, and my kids showed horses as well.”
The Voloshins travel around the country showing livestock, going to jackpots for cattle, national livestock shows, state competitions and more. They’ve traveled from Arizona to Nebraska to Louisville, Kentucky; to Madison, Wisconsin; showing animals. But even so, they’re always excited to come back home to Craig and show at the county fair.
“It’s the best of both worlds,” Sue Voloshin said. “You always want to compete locally. For the kids fair is like — when we ranch, you can’t really go on vacation, we work hard all summer. We just got done moving cattle up two weeks ago, my son’s been irrigating all summer, now they’re haying. So it’s really busy and hard to get away, but the county fair is kind of the highlight of the ranching kids’ summer.”
Michael, a defending grand champion showing steer, will be back at it during fair week, showing two of the three steers he’s been working with since October. The third will go to the state fair in Pueblo at the end of August.
“You don’t just prepare the week before or two weeks before,” Sue Voloshin said. “He gets his steers almost a year ago, and the day-to-day consistency of feeding them, exercising them — with steers you work their hair on a daily basis. He gets up at 6:30, depending on the day and what else is going on, but early every morning, and makes sure they get fed, get washed or at least rinsed, and get to a cool spot so the hair will grow. It’s about consistency.”
The quality of the animal is only part of showing. There’s also the showing itself.
“I always told my kids until you win showmanship, we’re not going anywhere else to compete,” Sue said. “Well sure enough they started winning. They have to practice that, as well.”
The lifelong, full-family effort — daughters Payton and Katia still show in national competitions despite aging out of 4-H — is a grueling one. But it’s got a payoff.
“It’s definitely a family affair,” Sue said. “Michael can’t do it without the rest of the family. Michael has learned a lot from the girls, both their wins and their losses. It takes parent support, and all of us working together to help one another. Not just Michael doing it on his own. But the value, they definitely learn how to work”
Aside from the work, there’s also the intimate knowledge of the family business that comes from showing animals.
“They’ve really learned about the cattle industry,” Sue said. “What to look for in good cattle — and it’s an opportunity to compete but also meet people and really, when you’re passionate about it, my kids just love it.
July 30, 4 p.m.: Open horse show, English
July 31, 8 a.m.: Open horse show, Western
Aug. 4, 5 p.m.: Sheep show
Aug. 5, 8 a.m.: Goat show
Aug. 5, 2 p.m.: Beef show
Aug. 6, 8 a.m.: Swine show
Aug. 6, noon: Rabbit show
Aug. 6, 1 p.m.: Poultry show
See moffatcountyfair.com for full schedule
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