The State Fair of Texas is proud to announce additional events to the revised 2020 livestock show schedule, including virtual contests and livestock breeding show competitions through an unprecedented partnership with the Heart O’ Texas Livestock Show. In addition to the market week shows in Fair Park during September 23 through October 2, announced earlier this month, these new shows provide opportunities for students to maintain their eligibility to apply for Big Tex Youth Livestock scholarships to support their higher education.
The State Fair of Texas is pleased to announce three virtual contests students can do from the comfort of home. The 2020 virtual contests that will take place online will be:
- Agri-science fair
- Public speaking
- Job interview
More details, including registration information, will be announced soon concerning these virtual contests in the coming weeks on our website, BigTex.com/Livestock.
The shows that will take place at the Heart O’ Texas Fair & Rodeo in Waco, through a partnership with the State Fair of Texas, will be:
- Youth breeding heifers
- Youth prospect steers
- Youth purebred breeding gilts
Note: The shows listed above are in addition to the current Heart O’ Texas livestock show schedule. For a complete listing of Heart O’ Texas livestock shows, please visit HOTFair.com.
These shows are in addition to market week events which were announced earlier this month. The 2020 State Fair of Texas market week includes market steer, market barrows, market lambs, market goats, and market broilers that will take place from Wednesday, September 23 through Friday, October 2 at Fair Park in Dallas. All events may be adjusted for the 2020 revised schedule if any health orders are initiated by local, state, or federal agencies, or if health and safety concerns exist. Any additional updates will be available on BigTex.com/COVID.
Livestock students spend months, in some cases years, working with their animals. The heartbreak of having to cancel shows that students have poured so much effort into preparing for was the motivation for the Fair to find a different venue for these shows. After exploring a number of possibilities, the best option the State Fair found to execute these shows safely was to partner with the Heart O’ Texas Fair & Rodeo at the Extraco Events Center in Waco, Texas.
“With the cancellation of the 2020 State Fair of Texas, due to COVID-19, thousands of students who were planning to show at the Fair might not have had the opportunity to exhibit their project animal,” said Daryl Real, senior vice president of agriculture & livestock for the State Fair of Texas. “At the foundation of our organization is promoting agriculture, education, and community involvement, so we knew we had to find other avenues for these students. We’re thrilled to partner with the Heart O’ Texas, whose mission to support agriculture aligns perfectly with ours. Together we will be able to provide the best and safest option for all our students with breeding animals.”
With health and safety for all involved as the top priority, the availability of space of the barns at the State Fair of Texas was unable to accommodate for proper procedures to be in place to keep exhibitors and staff safe due to the modifications made for market shows. The Heart O’ Texas, however, was willing to partner with the Fair to provide enough space to ensure safety. Both Heart O’ Texas Fair & Rodeo and the State Fair of Texas are 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations whose shows raise money for their scholarship programs that benefit Texas youth. Although the partnership is unprecedented, both organizations agree this provides the best opportunity for students to show their livestock while maintaining a safe environment. The planned shows and contests will comply with CDC guidelines, and will adhere to any health and safety orders enacted by local, state, or federal agencies.
“Across the country, 4-H and FFA youth have seen their opportunities to show livestock significantly reduced,” said President Wes Allison of Heart O’ Texas Fair & Rodeo. “Heart O’ Texas and the State Fair of Texas realize the work that goes into raising these animals – the money, the effort. We may not have partnered in the past, but we could not pass up the opportunity to give a chance to Texas students to raise money for college.”
Health and safety for all involved remains the top priority for the State Fair of Texas. The revised 2020 livestock show schedule features events that we have the capability to execute safely, while still maintaining the traditional level of quality of a State Fair of Texas livestock show. This includes, but is not limited to, requiring face coverings, additional sanitation of high-touch areas, and social distance precautions. For the shows during Heart O’ Texas, these guidelines will also be enforced in addition to any orders in place for McLennan County, where the Heart O’ Texas Fair & Rodeo venue is located.
The revised market week in Fair Park will take place Wednesday, September 23 through Friday, October 2, and culminates in the Big Tex Youth Livestock Auction on October 2. The combined events between the State Fair of Texas and the Heart O’ Texas livestock shows will take place in October, with more details to be announced in the coming weeks. The Heart O’ Texas Fair & Rodeo is scheduled to open September 30 and run through October 18. For more information, and a list of frequently asked questions concerning the State Fair of Texas livestock shows, please visit BigTex.com/livestock. For a full schedule of livestock shows at the Heart O’ Texas Fair & Rodeo, please visit HOTFair.com. The 2021 State Fair of Texas will run Friday, September 24 through Sunday, October 17 in historic Fair Park.