After watching hours of Grange, 4-H, and FFA youth strut their stuff in front of livestock judges, we have to admit we are impressed.
We are impressed with the effort of the kids, from the primaries to the seasoned seniors. These kids worked the arena. Even when they were culled from the winning group, many continued to show their animal as if the judge could be persuaded to change rankings.
We are impressed with the parents. No doubt livestock shows are a family event and that is how it should be. Eventually the older teens take the reins by themselves, they drive alone to the fair, wash and groom their animal, and dress themselves. The younger ones need mom and dad and the experienced older siblings to help.
Parents also fill the bleachers, cheering for their child and club. Once the winner is eventually chosen out of dozens and dozens of contestants, all the onlookers cheer. Parents rise to the occasion and do the right thing. They show appreciation to the winner.
Perhaps the most impressive this year were the quality of livestock judges. They took time to talk to the youth, giving them pointers, and relaxing frayed nerves. The shows took longer, but the youth benefited from the time and concern these judges showed.
Many of the judges were highly qualified. They knew what the market looks for in shape and size, and they knew the latest trends for showing. Truly, showing styles change, and the kids quickly adapted to each judgesâ€™ preferred style.
Overall, the livestock program at our fair is well run, with the tremendous help of the Junior Livestock Fair Board who work long hours moving class after class through the arenas, keeping exact records of who won what and when.
The community should be proud of our fair, especially what happens in the back end of the grounds, where work, pride, learning, and showmanship is on display.