By Sarah Naron

Messenger Reporter

ANDERSON COUNTY – Participants from 4-H and FFA chapters throughout Anderson County will be given a chance to put their hard work in the spotlight during the 2018 Anderson County Youth Livestock Show, set to kick off Monday, April 16 at the Anderson County Youth Livestock Pavilion.

“We’ll move in on Sunday, April 15, and that’ll be kind of our everybody-get-moved-in (day),” explained County Extension Agent Preston Sturdivant, in charge of 4-H and Youth Development. “We’ll start showing on Monday the (April) 16.”

Shows will continue from through Wednesday, and the event will culminate with a sale of livestock and projects Thursday.

“Monday morning, from 7-9, we’ll have a check-in for broilers,” Sturdivant said. “From 9 a.m. to noon will be the project show check-in.”

Broiler judging will begin at 10:30 a.m.

“Market rabbits will check in from 12-2 p.m. on Monday,” said Sturdivant. “Commercial heifer judging will start at 1:30 p.m.; market rabbits will start at 3 p.m.”

The final event of Monday’s festivities will be the breeding gilt show, scheduled for 7 p.m.

“On Tuesday, we’ll have a breeding rabbit check-in from 7-8 ,” Sturdivant divulged. “Breeding rabbit judging will start at 9.”

Project show judging will begin at 10 a.m., followed by the check-in period for breeding goats from 11-12:30 p.m..

“The breeding goat show will start at 1 p.m.,” Sturdivant continued. “Market goat judging will start at 3 p.m., and market swine judging will start at 6 p.m.”

Lamb judging is set for 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, followed by the breeding heifer show at 5:30 p.m. and the market steer show at 7 p.m.

“And then, on Thursday, 5:30 p.m. is our buyer’s barbecue, and 7 p.m. will be our premium auction sale,” Sturdivant explained. “And then, everybody moves out on Friday.”

According to Sturdivant, the 4-H organizations participating in the event include: Cayuga 4-H, Dogwood 4-H, Elkhart 4-H, Frankston 4-H, Harmony-Broyles Chapel 4-H, Ioni Creek 4-H and Old Cayuga 4-H.

FFA members from Cayuga, Elkhart, Frankston, Neches, Palestine, Slocum and Westwood will also be participating.

“It’s a wonderful event,” said Susie Bennett, Facilities Coordinator for the Anderson County Youth Livestock Show. “It teaches them (the students) responsibility and pride in their work. They get so excited.

“It gives them a more meaningful respect of life,” Bennett continued. “It’s just an all-around good thing.”

As Bennett pointed out, students who participate in the livestock show spend large amounts of time preparing the projects they will be presenting, leaving “no time to get in trouble.” The experience, she added, also helps students hone their public speaking skills.

“There’s lots of things that are intertwined with selling livestock,” said Bennett of the lessons to be learned by participants.

Bennett said most of the students who sell their projects at the conclusion of the livestock show use the money earned to further their educations.

In addition to the monies earned via livestock and project sales, students who participate in the event are eligible for scholarships given by the Anderson County Youth Livestock Association.

According to Bennett, more than $40,000 in total scholarship money was distributed by the board, and a similar amount is expected to be awarded this year.

“I can’t think of another place that gives as much as we do,” said Bennett, who has been a member of the board for 28 years. “We are 19 people on a board. No one’s paid; it’s all volunteer positions.”

A 501(c) organization, the Anderson County Youth Livestock Association is responsible for a number of annual events which serve as fundraisers for scholarships for Anderson County students.

“We are here to support the youth of Anderson County,” Bennett said of the organization.