Ag classes and belonging to the Blackfoot High School FFA chapter, 4H and hands-on ranching and farming experience is preparing Ridge Mays for a career in agriculture.
Ridge, 14, was raised in the Howe area before he and his parents Chad and Bethanie moved to Blackfoot. He plans to study to be a large animal veterinarian, as well as a rancher.
“I want to be a large animal veterinarian and hope to have my own ranch on the side, too,” he said.
Until then he spends every spare minute helping his grandparents Dean and Marcheta Mays in Howe at the ranch that has been in the family for about a century. The family has raised sheep and Herefords in the past but now raises Black Angus cattle.
Ridge helps out with any job on the ranch.
“Last summer I helped out with haying. I swathed, raked, baled and stacked hay,” he said.
Along with cattle comes horses, and Ridge rides whenever he can. He likes wide open spaces.
“When we go out into the Clyde area, there’s no cell service and I like that,” he said
When Ridge and his family lived in Howe, he joined 4-H at age 8 and showed steers selected from the Mays family herd at the Butte County Fair. He’s won three grand champion ribbons and many rosettes for showmanship and for quality. With his record books, he has won one grand champion and many red and blue rosettes, he said. He has also won a blue rosette in the round robin class for a 4H pig he raised, he said.
“I mostly raised steers in 4H and a few pigs. I never really cared for chickens or sheep,” he said. He said his success in 4H has resulted from sticking to the basics when picking out a 4H steer each spring.
“I look at the hind quarters and see how the steer stands. I look for the tall and long steers and one that acts calm,” he said. “I avoid picking a steer if he’s real wound up and running around,” he said. “I like the fair there in Butte County,” he said. “I know more kids there since I went to elementary school there. The school is really small with around 30 kids.”
Although he realizes filling out record books online are handy, he prefers filling out a record book the traditional way.
“I like paper better because it helps me practice my penmanship and I just like the physical feel of filling out a record book on paper instead of filling one out online,” he said.
In his spare time he’s played soccer and he likes big game hunting. This year he has a bull elk tag. In an ag class, his project is restoring the interior of a 1964 red Chevy pickup truck he’s in the process of buying.