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Event continues through Sunday in Shiprock

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SHIPROCK — When Dally Carlisle started blow drying his 17-month-old steer today, his action captured the attention of students from Nenahnezad Community School.

Carlisle, a member of the Double Spur 4-H Club in Crownpoint, was among the 4-H members who taught students about livestock ownership during Youth Day at the 106th annual Northern Navajo Nation Fair.

When Carlisle, 15, washed the steer earlier, Farmington resident Angellite Clyde helped her 3-year-old brother pet the animal.

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Clyde, 13, said she has grown up with the fair, explaining that her family attends it each year.

"It's fun and exciting. Every year, it's fun to see the exhibits," she said.

Inside the livestock tent, Ojo Amarillo Elementary School students checked out sheep, geese, ducks, chickens, rabbits and pigs.

"There's one bunny out," a girl said to her classmates.

Jacob Silversmith, a member of the Black Creek 4-H Club in Houck, Ariz., had two palomino rabbits, named Chappy and Sanders, on a table for the children to pet.

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Silversmith, 15, answered questions about his rabbits, as well as making sure both stayed in his view.

"Sometimes, they can learn what it takes to show rabbits and how to care for them," he said.

Throughout the morning, students, teachers and chaperones visited exhibits, informational booths and presentations.

Inside a large tent was the student showcase by the Central Consolidated School District.

Cheryl Benally, a bilingual teacher at Kirtland Middle School, had 26 students participate in the event. Benally said the students developed their presentations to focus on Navajo culture, including talking about traditional herbs, the four sacred mountains and the significance of the cradle board.

"I believe that the students are the leaders, so they need to lead by example," she said.

Miss KMS Diné Club Princess Tehya Barber sang the Radmilla Cody song, "My Horses," in the Navajo language. Although Barber said she was nervous about singing in front of a large audience, she hopes her performance encourages Navajo young people to learn about tradition.

"This is my culture, this is who I am," Barber said.

Near the exhibit hall, several boys and girls were vying for prizes in a 3-point shootout.

Dennehotso Boarding School fifth-grade student Shiloh Dutchie was among the boys who tested their basketball shooting skills.

"I wanted to see how good I was," Dutchie said after sinking five shots.

Nicahlos Yazzie, a Dennehotso Boarding School eighth-grader, said the shootout was difficult but fun.

"You have to aim for the goal," Yazzie said then added good arm strength helps.

Shandiin Makil coordinated the event to add variety to Youth Day activities.

"A lot of this is to get the kids more interactive. Get them enthusiastic. …Sometimes kids want to be kids, they want to run around," Makil said.

The fair continues through Sunday.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636.

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