A dozen young people are taking part in the Calgary Stampede's first OH Ranch Beef Ambassador program.

The manager of Agriculture and Western Events Operations for the Stampede, Brett Warder, says the program allows them to raise, show and sell an animal from the OH Ranch.

"In 2012 the OH Ranch was donated to us by Bill Siebens, to the Calgary Stampede Foundation and since then we have built our cow calf herd and made it a working ranch and we have about 305 head of cattle and we thought, how to best get out there with our OH brand and our Calgary Stampede brand and involve youth in agriculture by having a steer calf available to those kids for scholarship, they get to raise it and bring it back to the Calgary Stampede and show it in a Calgary Stampede branded beef show," he explains.

He says the 12 participants come from all over Alberta, including some locals who live near the sprawling 8,000-acre ranch.

"They would have had to put an application in, just like you would when you apply for a scholarship, instead of a cash scholarship they get a steer calf, they get to come out to the OH Ranch and take that steer home and raise it and throughout the year we will have them produce monthly reports on how that steer's doing and come back to the Stampede July 5 to the 14 and actually showcase that steer in an OH Branded Beef Class during our Junior Steer Classic."

OHOH Ranch Youth Beef Ambassador program (Photo: Calgary Stampede Facebook)

Warder says they're looking at doing some quarterly updates via zoom or to actually have the ambassadors come visit the OH Ranch 

"When they actually first came out to the OH Ranch to pick their steers we had a day of feed management, how to actually raise your steer and what the judges are looking for so we gave them some information and training along the way and we have some great experts within our organization and even with our connections within the industry that can give them some feedback on how they can best raise that steer and have the best steer at that show."

OHOH Ranch Youth Beef Ambassador program (Photo: Calgary Stampede Facebook)

At the end of the showcase the steers will be auctioned off with 80 per cent of the proceeds going back to the youth ambassador and 20 per cent will be reinvested in the program.

He says they did circulate the information about the program to 4H but left it open to any kind of youth ambassador because they wanted to showcase someone who may not have had a beef background, like someone who had previously raised sheep projects, providing them a first opportunity to raise a steer.

Warder says it's a great way to showcase their ambassadors and showcase youth and the OH and Calgary Stampede brands together.