This year as livestock and exhibitors flooded onto the grounds at the State Fair of Texas®, many species had a record number of entries. These records serve as a reminder that youth shows continue to be viewed as integral teaching opportunities by industry stakeholders. However, those stakeholders are not the only individuals recognizing the importance of events like the State Fair of Texas.
Members of the Midlothian FFA chapter set more than one record on check-in day. With a total of 20 steers entered by Midlothian students, the chapter made sure that their students were able to participate in the experience that is the 2013 State Fair of Texas.
“It’s a long process,” senior Midlothian FFA member Mikayla Moore said. “State Fair is very active and very fast. This show is the first large show most of these cattle have been to, so it shows their true character.”
To say that State Fair is an endurance test would be a statement that the Midlothian FFA showman would agree with. Market livestock exhibitors began moving livestock into place at 8 a.m. on Sept. 30 with all of the market and prospect steers settled in by the evening.
Sitting in line from 6 a.m. until the Midlothian cattle were unloaded at 10 a.m., Moore emphasized the importance of loving what she does.
“You definitely have to be dedicated,” Moore said. “There are long nights and early mornings. I wouldn’t do this for many people, but I will do it for my cattle.”
After showing cattle for five years, Moore is exhibiting her livestock at the State Fair of Texas for the last time. Over the course of her show career, she has developed a self-sufficient show project that she funds from the proceeds of the previous years’ project.
Patience, responsibility and money management are all things Moore has learned through her livestock projects but there has been the opportunity to learn much more, she said.
“I’ve learned a lot about myself,” Moore said, explaining that dealing with uncooperative steers has taught her how to deal with unexpected situations. “You have to go by what your animal is feeling, in the show ring and out.”
Though time as an exhibitor is coming to a close for Moore, younger exhibitors are stepping forward as Midlothian showmen. Callie Roberson is a 13-year-old Midlothian showman and in the prime of her career.
“I love showing my animals,” Roberson said. “I love the feeling of responsibility that I get from showing my animals.”
Having shown cattle for eight years, Roberson credits her livestock projects with many things including potentially helping her fund her future college education with scholarships available for youth livestock exhibitors as well as students across the state of Texas from the State Fair of Texas.
The youth prospect steer show will kick off market week for the cattle exhibitors at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 2. The youth market beef steer show will begin at 8 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 3. Both the prospect and market steer shows will be held in Livestock Judging Pavilion.
The youth market steer auction will be held at 5 p.m. on Oct. 3 in the Tom Thumb Sales Pavilion.