By Matt B. Walen
Hill County parents and 4-H members know the man behind the camera during award ceremonies at the 4-H events is County Extension Agent Bob Brastrup.
Brastrup, who has served in the extension agent role for almost eight years in Havre and is a veteran of seven Great Northern Fairs, helps coordinate the 4-H programs with Extension Agent Jennifer Wells.
Brastrup also helps out The Havre Daily News by taking pictures of the grand champions and reserve champions at the 4-H award ceremonies each year.
Photography has always been sort of a hobby for him, Brastrup said.
I enjoy photography and have taken a lot of pictures over the years, he said. Ive taken photos of most every part of the state.
Besides the 4-H photos, Brastrup said he likes to capture wildlife images and outdoor scenery.
Brastrup earned a masters degree in agriculture education in the early 1970s and there was no question as to what field he would pursue.
Getting into the extension agent business was an easy decision, Brastrup said. His father had been an extension agent in Carbon County and the family was used to the hours, he said.
Prior to accepting the extension agent position in Havre, Brastrup was an agent in Townsend.
When retirement arrives, Brastrup said he will return to the family farm near Joliet and pursue some of his many hobbies.
I just hope I can make the adjustment well, he said.
Besides coordinating the 4-H programs for the year, Brastrup said he tries to answer peoples questions about lawn and foliage care.
Mysterious problems with elusive solutions are just part of the job as extension agent, Brastrup said. Most problems people bring him take little time to solve, but occasionally there is a stumper, he said.
Some problems, like a recent unknown growth in a Havre residents lawn, are unsolvable, Brastrup said.
That doesnt happen too often, Brastrup said. I like working on those mysteries.
Brastrup said he has also seen his share of 4-H mysteries over the years.
A market steer got away from a 4-H member right before the fair one year and ran loose along the Milk River for six weeks, Brastrup said.
Another year, a horse and a dog, both 4-H projects, were struck by rattlesnakes right before the fair. The veterinarian worked with both animals and they both were able to perform at the fair, Brastrup said.
The most unusual exhibit at the fair was a box full of rattlesnakes as part of a wildlife project, Brastrup said. The 4-H member received a blue ribbon for his display, he said.
The most fascinating part of the 4-H program is the way the members control their dogs during the canine portion of the show, Brastrup said.
Its fascinating what those kids can get their dogs to do, he said. With all of the disturbances at the show and these kids get their dogs to do what they do. Its really fascinating.
The volunteers really make the 4-H experience wonderful during the fair, Brastrup said.
Some people who volunteer dont even have kids in 4-H, he said. They just want to volunteer their time and knowledge.
These volunteers put in long hours and lots of labor to make the fair a memorable experience for the kids, Brastrup said.
The people along the Hi-Line are good to work with, Brastrup said. The position is the best job Ive ever had.