You might do a double-take if you see the Boehms out walking their pet around the neighborhood. It’s not a dog, or even a cat—but a sheep. Not a common sight on Boise City’s residential streets.
But raising animals, and civic responsibility, is a family affair for the Boehms. Kristin Boehm grew up in 4-H and participated all throughout her childhood. So when she and her husband started their family of four boys, they knew that 4-H was the path that they wanted for them.
“I told the kids that they couldn’t have an animal in the house unless they were doing something productive with it,” explained the self-described 4-H lifer and current civilian officer in the Garden City Police Department.
In addition to productive animals, Kristin has raised three very focused and well-spoken young men who embody core 4-H values. Her fourth son is just beginning his 4-H experience as a cloverbud.
Marcus, her oldest, is competing at this year’s Fair with his current project: a Holland Lop bunny named Sweetie, whose babies are due any minute now. “This year I’m really trying to focus on good breeding, improving her lineage. I want big bunnies.” Big, healthy bunnies, he hopes, that will win him blue ribbons for quality.
In addition to his individual project, Marcus serves as a camp counselor for 4-H Kid's Camp, and as a 4-H ambassador, spreading the “gospel” of 4-H to others.
His brother Ethan does it too—even appearing on television to highlight the benefits of 4-H—and also serves as a camp counselor to younger members and teen leader for a cloverbud bike safety program.
“The animal projects didn’t work out,” Ethan says without further explanation. Instead, the civic-minded 15-year-old chose the Know Your Government project, or KYG. KYG participants research a topic and propose a bill, with students playing the roles of legislators, reporters, and lobbyists. Ethan most recently played the role of reporter, conducting interviews with participants and ultimately reporting about the bill the students proposed—banning energy drinks from schools.
The day we met, Kristin’s younger son Logan was off at Natural Resources camp, a joint venture between 4-H and the University of Idaho. During the six-day camp, students learn about forestry, meet with wildfire fighters, and get a sense of other outdoors activities like fishing and shooting. She says he’s looking forward to his animal project next year.
So what are the chances that the youngest Boehm boy will be a 4-Her? We’re guessing greater than the chance that you’ll see a sheep on your next dog walk.
Great art helps you appreciate the beauty around you, and great comedy makes you laugh at life’s little absurdities. In the world-renowned circus performances of Mango and Dango, great art and comedy combine for a few minutes of pure joy at the Western Idaho Fair.
The story of their theatrical circus act begins with a passion for international travel. Both Derrick Gilday (Dango) and Megan Fontaine (Mango) have spent years of their lives performing street acts in South America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. And as they developed their act and chemistry together, they studied traditional circus performances and absorbed the world around them.
“As you travel, you start to see patterns,” explains Derrick. “There are these classic characters, roles that we all play from time to time, that have existed for thousands of years. That can all make life mundane. So what we like to do is play off of that.”
Play is probably the key word to their act, which combines traditional circus clowning, juggling, and physical comedy with acrobatics, dance, and aerial arts. It’s fun to watch and authentically joyful—which Derrick thinks resonates especially well with audiences here in the West.
Creating that fun takes lots of work and practice. The pair clocks 14-hour days making the costumes and props for their tours, and developing choreography. But the drive to produce work that celebrates the silliness of life is what keeps them going.
“We were born to do this work, and we’ve been lucky to find our niche,” Derrick says. “And if we can help one person out there find the inspiration he needs to do his thing, to break that boring pattern—or to just be happy—then we’ve done a good job.”
Look out for Mango and Dango roving around the Fairgrounds August 19-28. And for more information about their act, visit mangoanddango.com.
Diva. Escape artist. Affectionate. Muddy.
These are all words that 13-year-old budding rancher Tomie Moody-St. Clair uses to describe one of her 4-H project animals, a pig named Luna. And this year, she’s looking to get one of her spunky pink performers top prizes for showmanship and quality at the Western Idaho Fair.
Showing swine is a lot like walking your dog without a leash. “You take the pig out into the pasture and do a few laps, maybe half a mile to a mile,” says the confident teen. “To make her go forward, you tap her on her side. Right turn, tap on the left side of the neck. Left turn, right side of the neck.”
Sounds easy. Until you consider that Luna and her penmates Medianoche and Estrella will ultimately weigh nearly 250 pounds if Tomie does a good job of feeding them. Right now, the pigs are busy eating, gaining about two pounds a day in preparation for their time in the spotlight.
Tomie’s learned a lot about pigs from this experience so far, including how incredibly smart they are.
“Our pigs have a drinking fountain, but we didn’t want them to build a mud pit underneath it, so we put concrete blocks under there. The pigs took the concrete blocks and moved them in front of the gate so that we’d have to open it outwards—giving them a chance to escape.”
They’re also very affectionate—a trait her younger brother Matthew also really likes.
“I like how the pigs rub up against us and get us all muddy,” Matthew says with a smile. Tomie adds, “My first and second years, the pigs would fall over so we could rub their bellies. They like their noses rubbed, too.”
Tomie got her younger brother into 4-H, and this year, he’s competing against other kids also in their first year of competition. Tomie, meanwhile, is already starting to think about her next 4-H project.
“I think I’ll do sheep next year,” she declares, self-assuredly, like she’s weighed the risks and potential returns. Then she adds, “My mom says they’re cuddly—and I think they’re pretty cute.”