About Me

Kentucky, United States
Fourth generation beef producer, wife, mother, 4-H & FFA supporter, agriculture advocate, Christian, WKU alum, love livestock shows, basketball, college football, Dallas Cowboys. All things agriculture.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

State Fair Season ~ Tournament Time for Youth Livestock Exhibitors

     Opening day for the Kentucky State Fair is Thursday, August 15, and for many 4-H and FFA youth the most important week and a half of the project year has arrived. Each member will soon be competing in showmanship and exhibiting breeding and/or market project animals on the green shavings at the Kentucky Exposition Center, and each with hopes their months of feeding and caring for these animals results in a champion banner.

     For folks not familiar with the livestock projects of 4-H and FFA members, some find it difficult to understand the daily work it takes to care for these animals or the dreams and determination of these kids to succeed. This lack of knowledge by the general public and some school officials often makes it difficult for some members to be away from school to exhibit their project animals at the state fair. We've been blessed in our local school system with strong support for the youth and they are able to make up class work following the fair.
     I like to relate the youth livestock projects and the state fair to state championship athletic events. Basketball is king in Kentucky and there are county school systems that regularly close during the Kentucky Sweet 16 basketball tournament making it convenient for school employees, specifically coaches, to attend even if the school is not involved. Or, coaches are permitted to take their teams to watch the tournament and students be excused from school. The state fair is the state tournament for agriculture youth and it is unfortunately scheduled during the opening month of school for most districts.
     Agriculture youth work just as hard, if not harder, than athletes and usually feed and care for their animals both before and after school. Their responsibility and commitment to their animals and the agriculture industry are usually life-long, not just a few months or years. The majority of these members live on family farms and have made a choice to raise livestock. The education gained by these youth reaches far beyond animal husbandry and nutrition, but  provide a hands-on education in responsibility, determination, and the rewards of hard work. By their early teens, many of these youth have highly developed skills of communication, marketing, and public service due to their experiences with their projects.  
     These youth have great support from family and the agriculture community however they could use a little more understanding and support from the non-agriculture community. Teachers and school officials be aware that these kids may be absent from school a few days in the following two weeks but you can be sure that they are working hard, trying to reach goals they have set for themselves, just like student athletes.
     If you have the opportunity to attend the Kentucky State Fair or your own state fair, take a moment to watch the youth livestock shows and make the opportunity to meet these young folks and ask them about their animals. You might be surprised by what you learn.


Thursday, August 15
8:30 a.m. Dairy Show - Guernsey, Broadbent Arena
 Brown Swiss, Ayrshire &
 Milking Shorthorn
1:30 p.m. Dairy Cattle Judging Contest Broadbent Arena
4:00 p.m. Livestock Judging Contest Broadbent Arena
Friday, August 16
8:30 a.m. Dairy Show - Jersey & Holstein &
 Red & White Broadbent Arena
3:00 p.m. Dairy Show Supreme Champions Broadbent Arena
5:00 p.m. Market Goat Showmanship Broadbent Arena
Saturday, August 17
11:30 a.m. Market Goat Skillathon Newmarket Hall
3:00 p.m. (approx.) Market Goat Show Broadbent Arena
Tuesday, August 20
8:30 a.m. Sheep Exhibitors’ Meeting Newmarket Hall
12:30 p.m. Sheep Skill-A-Thon Newmarket Hall
1:30 Sheep Showmanship Sheep Barn
(begins 30 minutes after Jr. Breeding Sheep Sheep Barn
the completion of Showmanship)
Wednesday, August 21
8:30 a.m. Steer Show Broadbent Arena
8:30 a.m. Sheep Exhibitors’ Meeting Newmarket Hall
 Followed by Novice Showmanship
 Followed by Novice Market Lambs
11:00 a.m. (approx.) Steer Showmanship Broadbent Arena
12:00 noon Market Lambs Sheep Barn
1:00 p.m. Beef Skillathon Newmarket Hall
2:00 p.m. Swine Exhibitors Meeting Newmarket Hall
2:30 p.m. Swine Skillathon Newmarket Hall
3:00 p.m. Heifer Showmanship Broadbent Arena
4:00 p.m. Swine Showmanship Swine Barn
 (Followed by Novice Market Hog Show)
Thursday, August 22
8:00 a.m. Market Hog Show Swine Barn
8:00 a.m. Heifer Show Broadbent Arena
1:00 p.m. Breeding Gilt Show Swine Barn
6:30 p.m. Sale of Champions Newmarket Hall

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Kentucky Junior Livestock Expo, A Look at the Beginning

     Approximately 32 years ago, a young man blessed with great talent and passion for livestock judging and  an unmatched ability to work with youth, held a livestock judging clinic beneath a small tent on his farm in Caneyville, Kentucky. The man is Warren Beeler, and that livestock judging clinic grew and evolved into one of the finest youth livestock events anywhere, the Kentucky Junior Livestock Expo.
     The event began with a handful of judging teams under a tent, and grew to a shop building filled with 4-H and FFA members from across the state. Warren was president of the Kentucky Pork Producers during the time and on the third year the event had grown to include a meal provided by the Kentucky Pork Producers.
     The event soon outgrew the farm and was moved to the WKU Agriculture Exposition Center and was a day filled with instruction on livestock selection and reasons. With continued growth and support from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, and several individuals, the event soon included two standing district shows, the Southern Kentucky Lamb Show and the Southern Kentucky Swine Show with emphasis on the judging clinic.
     A beef cattle show was soon included, then dairy, and by 1993 a Round Robin competition was added. Market goats were included in 2003. "It's pretty amazing how it's grown, With emphasis on skillathon, judging, and the addition of the Commissioner's Awards in each species it keeps the kid part bigger than the animal, which is important," explained Beeler. Warren Beeler knows his livestock as well as anyone in the country, but he knows kids even better and the importance of programs like this that grow strong, confident, successful kids that become successful adult leaders.
     The Kentucky Junior Livestock Expo grew to include a second expo at Morehead University and a third at Murray State University, offering the program to larger number of youth in different regions of the state. "We are so lucky to have the state money available for these shows," stated Beeler, while explaining that it has taken continued support from several commissioners of agriculture as well as  many state leaders.
     Each show has a committee, and each show is funded by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture Division of Show and Fair Promotion, as well as individual and corporate sponsors which provide meals, t-shirts, and awards. There are Kentucky Department of Agriculture staff members, university professors and specialists, 4-H agents, agriculture teachers, parents, and volunteers that work to make each show a success. Many of these individuals grew up in this program and participated in the clinics and expos as 4-H and FFA members.  The Kentucky Junior Livestock show in Bowling Green has grown substantially from that first clinic on Beeler farm to nearly 200 youth participants and 800 head of livestock.  For more information on this weekend's show visit the Kentucky Department of Agriculture website www.kyagr.com or go to the following link: http://www.kyagr.com/marketing/documents/SF_KentuckyJuniorLivestockExposCUTRules.pdf
     The Commissioners Award, a Montana Silversmith belt buckle, is presented to one individual in each of the five species. Scoring is determined by a points system based on each exhibitor's results in the Skill-A-Thon, judging, showmanship, and highest placement in class of one animal.
     Kentucky Proud animals, livestock bred and born on Kentucky soil, are also recognized and receive added premiums as well as Kentucky Proud Champions being named in each species.
     The Kentucky Jr. Livestock Expo - East, at Morehead University was held June 10-11 and the Kentucky Jr. Livestock Expo - Western Rivers, at Murray State was held June 20-21.  The Kentucky Jr Livestock Expo, held in Bowling Green, begins Thursday, July 25 at the WKU Agricultural Exposition Center with a livestock judging clinic from 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm. Dairy judging and oral reasons clinic begin at 8:30 am Friday, July 26. Skill-a-Thon for both livestock and dairy participants begins at 10:00 am  Lunch is provided to contestants and the livestock judging contest will be held Friday afternoon, followed by dinner and awards. Livestock shows and showmanship will be held on Saturday.
     Round Robin Showmanship will be held immediately after champion and reserve champion showmanship winners of each of the five species have been determined. The ten champion and reserve champion exhibitors then compete against each other in showmanship in each species, judged by each official judge of the show and ranked. The Round Robin Champion and Reserve Champion each receive a belt buckle, with champion sponsored by WKU Block & Bridle Club and the reserve champion buckle sponsored by the Warren Beeler family.
     If you are one of the fortunate youth participants of the Kentucky Junior Livestock Show and look forward to the event each year, take the time to thank Warren Beeler for his dedication to the livestock industry and Kentucky's youth, which led to this outstanding program.

Photographs property of Wanda Quiggins

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Photos from Hart County Fair 4-H Market Lamb, Market Hog, & Market Goat Shows

     Hart County 4-H members arrived early Saturday, June 29, at the Hart County Fairgrounds in Rowletts, Ky with their lamb and goat project animals to kick off the 2013 fair with the 4-H Market Lamb, Market Hog,  and Market Goat Show. Below you will find a photo essay of the show and all the fun! 

Lamb Showmanship

Market Lamb Show

Market Hog Show

Goat Showmanship

Market Goat Show

All Photographs property of Wanda Quiggins