KILLAM, Alta. — A wheelchair hasn’t stopped Hanna Chilson from training, brushing, leading or showing her 4-H calf, Bubbles.
Chilson, 12, a junior member of the Battle River, Alta., 4-H Beef Club spent the winter working and training Bubbles and led him around the show ring on achievement day, June 1.
“He got used to me and I got used to him. I go out everyday to brush him and maybe lead him some days,” said Chilson, during the Flagstaff District 4-H Beef Show and Sale.
“It’s fun to work with my steer and hang out with my friends. I wanted to go into 4-H.”
Chilson led Bubbles around the show ring before the rest of the members of the beef club entered the show ring. Bubbles is used to Chilson’s wheelchair, but not all calves are as well trained, or used to the chair and a decision was made to lead her calf separately to show off Chilson’s showmanship skills.
“Not all these steers hang out with a wheelchair and it’s a bit spooky here anyway,” said Hanna’s mom, Jodi Chilson.
At one point, the relaxed Bubbles tried to lie down in the ring, but like a good showman, Chilson kept Bubbles, a 917 pound calf, walking around the ring.
Chilson’s father, Scotty Love, said the calf is so docile it often tries to lick the chair while it’s being led and the two have created a bond from their time spent together.
When Bubbles hurt his leg, a neighbour was called to have a look. When the neighbour arrived, Chilson was out of her wheelchair lying on her steer trying to comfort the animal, he said.
“He likes her. He trusts her. They have a bond,” said Jodi, who added it was only natural Hanna joined the 4-H beef club after helping her brother, Bryce, with his 4-H calf.
“She helps her brother and wanted to be involved like everyone else. She does the work. It was only logical she had one too.”
Chilson, an active child, hasn’t let the car accident that put her in a wheelchair slow her down. She has been a member of the local swim club and during a family ski trip to Sun Peaks near Kamloops, B.C., she was asked by the British Columbia-Alberta and national sit ski team to become a team member.
Article written by Mary MacArthur and published in The Western Producer