Hello, my name is Clay Sundberg, I am 14 years old and live in Arlington. I live with my dad (John), mom (Staci) and three little brothers (Ian, Tate and Zane).
I have been in 4-H for five years, and of those five years, I have been secretary for two years and treasurer for two years. Along with being involved with my club, I am also involved with our county federation for four years, in which I have been secretary for two years and treasurer for two years.
I have been on the LaSalle County livestock judging team for five years. I have been on our school’s Student Council for the last two years, where I have also have been secretary of that as well. I am active in our school’s Anti-bullying Snowflake Club along with our school’s Positive Behavior Intervention System. Ever since I can remember, I have been going to our family cattle farm, right outside of Triumph. The family farm is run mainly by my dad and my two uncles — Jim and Mike — and also my grandma, Mary, who does all of the bookwork for the farm.
Until I was about 8 years old, my dad raised sheep at our house, and that is where my interest in showing really took off. When I was 5 years old, I had the opportunity to show my first lamb at the Tri-County Fair in Mendota. I continued to show sheep until I was 10 years old. I also showed cattle and still do today.
To this day, I can still remember showing my first calf ever at the Tri-County Fair when I was 7 years old. The best part still today is that I can walk out into the pasture and still see the Angus cow that I showed seven years ago. Then the following year I had the opportunity to go to another show with a Simmental heifer calf, Barbra. The very next year was even more exciting because I got to show Barbra as a yearling heifer and along with that it was my first year at the LaSalle County 4-H Fair in Ottawa. It was a very successful show season with Barbra — we did three shows that year. After that I got to show in Indianapolis at the Hereford Junior Nationals.
In the past few years, I have also had the chance to show in Wausau, Wis., and Heron, S.D., at Simmental regional shows. I have also shown at the Illinois State Fair for the past three years.
Out of all the show seasons, this year was my favorite. This year I got to show at five major shows with my heifer, Red Rose. We were able to go to Springfield, Mo., for the South Central Simmental Regional Show; Lincoln, Neb., for the National Junior Simmental Classic; Springfield for the Illinois State Fair; Milwaukee, Wis., for the World Beef Expo and then finished the year off in Louisville, Ky., for the North American International Livestock Exposition.
This year starts a new year with new calves. My brother, Ian, is old enough to start showing this year also. We have a lot of work to do to get ready for this summer to show our calves and also find time to play baseball. My other brother, Tate, will be there to help as always with the calves. He can not wait until he can show, too. Should be another busy and fun summer.
I would just like to thank the Bureau County Republican for giving me the opportunity to write this article, and I look forward to writing my second article in June.
Clay Sundberg is an eighth grader at Allen Junior High School in LaMoille. He helps raise cattle on his family farm in Arlington.