Fifth-generation dairy farmer prepares for 4-H fair
In her third year of 4-H, 12-year-old Elizabeth Collman is taking the sport of showing cattle by the horns.
At this year's Clackamas County Fair, Aug. 15-19, Collman will show three cows: one Jersey, one Holstein and one milking short horn, and she'll also have a home-sewn outfit up for judging in the still-life exhibit.
A fifth-generation Cloud Cap dairy farmer, Collman said her ambition to join the Sandy 4-H club was hereditary.
"The farm and my parents," were big motivators to continue the livestock legacy," she explained. "My mom did 4-H in the same groups and I like doing it."
This is Collman's second year in the Kids-R-Us sewing club, a venture she wasn't thrilled to start but now loves. She often sews clothes for her grandpa and gifts for friends and family.
"My mom thought it would be a good idea," she explained. "It was really fun and now I'm doing it for my second year."
As an aspiring teacher, it comes as no surprise that Collman enjoys the educational aspect of presenting at fair.
"At fair you get to inform people, and I love getting to inform people about our farm and being around the cows," she said. "It's fun to go show, and dairy's been kind of small around here."
Last year, Collman was named reserve showman in the junior showmanship division.
"That was a really big accomplishment for me," Collman added. "It felt really good to have that happen."
Though she looks forward to going to fair again this year, Collman's skills with livestock are not just for show.
"Cows have been my life," she said. "We milk our cows twice a day here and in the 92 years here we've only missed a milking once — and that was the Columbus Day Storm. I like being able here on the farm to help my dad. You get to see the babies progress from one day old to three months old."
When Collman's not feeding calves or helping her father wrap "marshmallows" — large, round hay bales covered in white plastic — she is an active multi-sport athlete at Boring Middle School, competing in the high jump as a member of the track team, playing on the girls basketball team and participating on the school cheer squad and snow riders snowboarding group.
She also volunteers some of her time to helping in Naas Elementary School's special needs classroom, in preparation for her dream career.
"I still want to help out on the farm, but I want to be a special education teacher or children's therapist," Collman explained. "I like being able to help them. I still want to be a part of the farm even if I'm not a big owner. I want to be able to feed calves and stuff like that. Cows I guess just make me happy because I've been around them all my life."