After months of hard work and preparation, it's finally here — the 2014 Erath County Junior Livestock Show. So dust off your boots, round up the kids and head to the ECLA show barn located off FM 205 today through Saturday and support local youth and the future of local agriculture.
"It's really exciting. I'm always glad to win," said Duroc Breed Champion Matthew Chapman as he stepped from the ring.
Chapman, who has been showing for five years at the Erath County show, said he also takes his pig to bigger shows. This year he'll be competing for a purple (champion) ribbon in San Angelo.
Danny Phillips, event organizer, said the annual show isn't just about supporting local youth, although that is the main focus. It's about supporting local agriculture and the future of the industry in Erath County.
"These kids are the future of the industry, supporting them in their growth through these ag projects is supporting our future and the ag industry's future," Phillips said. "But not only that, they're great kids. Just look around, they've all worked hard on these projects and coming out here to cheer them on is what it's all about."
Not every kid will get a blue ribbon, or even make it to the auction, but some of the first-time showers couldn't care less.
"I don't even care if I win. Honestly, I hope I don't," said Lauren Robbins, first year Erath County shower. "My friend told me that if you win and go to the sale, they take your pig and kill and eat it! I don't think I want that."
Whether they make the sale or they get the gate, Phillips said all the students participating in the livestock show this year are winners.
Today's show begins bright and early with the market goat show at 9 a.m., followed by the market lamb show. Breeding heifers will show at 2 p.m., followed by the market steer show.
The dairy show begins at 9 a.m. Saturday. The buyer's meal will begin at 5 p.m. with the showmanship recognition and awards presentation at 5:30 p.m. The Sale of Champions begins at 6 p.m. and will be followed by the market and dairy auctions.