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.

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

No comments: