Kasson siblings enjoy the 4-H life
Diego Espinoza is a veteran member of the Zumbro Rockets 4-H club. He’s been there, done that.
At age 10.
The Kasson youngster started out as a “Cloverbud” (4-H members in kindergarten through second grade) and is starting his sixth year in the organization.
He and his dairy cows earned a grand champion title in showmanship at the 2016 Dodge County Fair, was reserve champion in his age group this past summer, and is in his first year with a dog project – teaching the critters to listen and behave.
“I like showing the cows,” Diego said. “I just like working at the barn at the Fair.”
His sister Gabi, 15, and brother Carter, 17, also are longtime 4-Hers.
The siblings are among several area 4-H members whom we recognized as part of National 4-H Week, Oct. 1-7 (see Page A6 for more local coverage).
“It takes a lot of work” and instills values, said the Espinoza children’s mother, MaryBeth, a former 4-Her with the Milton Blazers club and current Zumbro Rockets advisor, with Karen Naatz.
“I’m very proud of them,” she said. “4-H really helped them become responsible. It’s fun to see them come out of their shell.”
Gabi Espinoza, beginning her 10th year showing dairy cows, has served as 4-H county officer, club reporter, and club secretary.
She placed first in the all-breeds category at the 2016 Dodge County Fair, and showed Red and White Holsteins at the 2016 Minnesota State Fair.“It’s a really great opportunity to learn about leadership and responsibility,” she said. “And you make new friends.”
Gabi said she joined 4-H at least partly because her mom showed dairy cows during her high school years.
“My boys kind of want to be farmers,” MaryBeth said, “and Gabi likes to show.”
Carter Espinoza, who also plays football at K-M, has served as Dodge County 4-H vice president, and as vice president and an officer for FFA.
He is beginning his 13th year in 4-H, and has showed dairy cows for 12, earning outstanding junior and senior boy honors through the county.
He has earned a trip to the State Fair each year since sixth grade.
4-H, he said, has helped him develop leadership qualities. He plans to study dairy science.
“I just like being in the barn,” Carter said. “I like teaching the public about what I’m interested in.”
The Espinozas are among many 4-H members who live in cities. They lease and exhibit non-market animals, which they have prepared for shows.
Their father, Ramon, works with animals on a farm between Mantorville and Pine Island.
Besides 4-H and studying and all their activities, his children volunteer for community service, often through the Lions Club.
“It feels good to help others who aren’t as fortunate as you,” Carter said.