The Playa Del Sur 4-H Club of Carpinteria is once again gearing up for the Santa Maria Fair in July. Club members have purchased a variety of animals to feed, raise and train. Not only will the animals be judged and sold at the fair, but each club member can also compete in showmanship.

This Carpinteria 4-H Club has several acres of land along Foothill Road to provide housing and pens for all their critters. As of now, there are goats, sheep, chickens, steers and one cat. This area in owned and shared with the club by John and Walter Van Wingerden.

Unfortunately, in 2020, club members had purchased their animals, trained their animals, and provided constant feed and care only to have Covid-19 close down the Santa Maria and the Santa Barbara fairs. This left these hardworking teenagers with no chance to sell their animals and recoup their investment. Luckily, many growers in the Carpinteria area joined forces and arranged purchases of all the animals cared for by club members, so no one would be out the cost of feed and their initial purchase price.

Now in 2021, these participants are back to work; President Lupita Loyola, Secretary Gizelle Lopez, Vice President Lucy Lashlee and Treasurer Alejandra Cruz were elected at the October meeting. Lupita, Ale, Augustine Brace, and Caleb Rosborough are raising steers, Gizelle and Lucy will work with lambs and Blake Lashlee will raise one of the baby goats. The two youngest club members, Samara Goodlett and Poppy Boersema, will be in charge of rabbits. More animals will be purchased as former members rejoin the group and new members are included.

Steers are born in March or April. Auggie’s steer weighed 405 lbs at the beginning of October. When fully grown, a steer can be over 1300 lbs – not an easy animal to handle without a lot of training. The cost of buying a steer is roughly $1,500 and feed costs are $200 a month. Sheep run about $450 with feed about a total of $150. Sponsors, hopefully, donate funds to purchase and care for the animals. 

In July, these well-fed-and-cared-for animals will be shown by their owners at the fair in Santa Maria. Following the activities at the fair, the animals are sold, the sponsors are paid back, and the 4-H members get the rest of their earnings. Usually, in non-Covid-19 times, a steer can bring in around $800 in profit. Fair participants also work to earn “buckles” in showmanship.

Besides raising animals, the Playa del Sur 4-H Club offers activities such as baking, grilling, carpentry, gardening, emergency preparedness and veterinary science. The club’s goal is to give all youth equal access to opportunity. 4-H Clubs reach almost six million members with their hands on, learn-by-doing approach.

“Lead by example” is one of the many goals leader, Ron Vieira, has for his group of 4-H members. Each year, the club does two community service activities – its annual sock drive and holiday canned food drive. Any youth between 9 and 19 who interested in joining the Playa Del Sur Club can contact Ron Vieira at or (805) 451-4057. Generally, meetings are the first Saturday of each month at 10 a.m. at the 4-H Farm on Foothill Road.



Melinda Wittwer first moved to Carpinteria in 1972 and taught mostly junior high students in Oxnard during her 25-year career. Now retired, she enjoys pottery, writing, books and travel.

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