Another State Fair of Texas season is set to begin Friday and Wise County 4-H members are preparing for more than carnival rides and pictures with Big Tex.
The annual event held in Dallas will kick off Sept. 30 and run through Oct. 23. From showing livestock to participating in speaking contests, youth are hoping to gain experience and successfully compete.
Wise County AgriLife Extension Agent Karly West said that approximately 35 to 40 Wise County 4-H members will take part in the competitive activities.
“Going to the state fair and jackpot shows is pretty integral because the kids are just now getting into their feeding program,” West said. “Getting those critiques from judges is essential to continue their feeding program in a way that is going to elevate their animals for those spring stock shows.”
The state fair presents an opportunity for livestock exhibitors to develop confidence in themselves and their animals. With the 4-H year starting in September, the event is one of the first major livestock shows of the season.
According to West, the experience is especially helpful for newer members and families.
“This exposes them and their animals to a major stock show environment without it being as crazy as Fort Worth, San Antonio and Houston,”
4-H members participating in public speaking, livestock judging and other contests have a chance to hone their skills before entering the district competition as well.
“Our district contest is in November,” West said. “[The state fair] is great practice because they get those critiques.”
West said that she has seen many members investing time and energy into their projects. She has been impressed by their drive and work ethic.
“I talk to the parents and the kids are out at the barn at 5 a.m.” West said. “They are going to practices after school and contests on the weekend.”
The time spent at livestock shows often builds connections between young competitors and their Extension agents. With this in mind, West is looking forward to embarking on her first full livestock show season with Wise County 4-H members.
“I have a lot of fun traveling with the families,” West said. “We try to travel as a group as much as we can so there is a lot of bonding that happens at the stock shows.”
While youth members grow in their project areas, West cherishes the memories being made.
“The success is awesome but spending time with them and doing what I love is what I really enjoy,” West said.
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