As she prepared to head off to carry the Island colours in the national judging competition at Western Agribition, Molly Loane has been getting some advice from a previous competitor.
The first-year agriculture business student at the Dalhousie Faculty of Agriculture didn't have to look further than her kitchen table. Her father, Wade, made the same trip as a 17-year-old member of the Brooklyn-Heatherdale 4-H Club back in 1987.
The 18-year-old Heatherdale resident left for the Regina competition November 23and was scheduled to compete November 25 and 26. She won the honour to represent the province during a 4-H show this summer at the Dundas Plowing Match and this will be her third major national competition in two years after being part of the 4-H beef team at the Royal Winter Fair in 2018 and again this year.
"The national competitions are at a whole other level," Molly said. "You are going up against the best of the best from across the country."
During the Royal show Molly was given the opportunity to return to the ring for intermediate showmanship. At the Royal level, this means she placed in the top four of showmanship. She also placed sixth in her yearling class with Mast-R Flirt 70F.
Loane said the experience at the Royal will serve her well at AgriBition, where she will face up to 800 other competitors. In addition to the individual showings, there are also team competitions and she will be joining forces with competitors from New Brunswick and Nova Scotia to form a maritime contingent.
"Dad has been helping me to understand what the judges will be looking for," she said. "It is really neat to be following in his footsteps."
Molly has been exhibiting cattle with her father and her late grandfather Buddy Loane "since I was about six or so," saying she has attended shows throughout the province and across the Maritimes. She was also been to Saskatchewan previously to compete in the national junior Hereford show.
Loane said she "can't say enough" about the benefits and experiences she has gotten from her ten years in the 4-H program. The 18 year old hopes to take over a leadership role in the program when she ages out as a member in three years.
"Going to Agribition and the Royal for the last two years are opportunities I just wouldn't have had without 4-H," she noted.