After a week of festivities, the 75th annual Stephens County Jr. Livestock Show culminated Friday evening with an awards reception and bonus sale for the top livestock exhibits earned by the youth.
“It has been a good tradition throughout the years,” Randall Rochell, chairman of the Stephens County Fair Board, said. “It has been 75 years. I hope for 75 more. I know there will be 75 more.”
Among those participating in the sale was Central High sophomore Jarrod Harper. Harper’s steer not only earned the Grand Champion Steer title but it also brought in over $8,000 in prize money including the $2,000 sale price that was awarded to all Grand Champion winners.
Harper said he has been preparing this steer for the show and sale for a year now.
“We feed it a certain amount of food,” he said. “We use supplements to make him bigger and stronger.”
Harper also showed a heifer and another steer this week. He is in his third year of showing and he started when he was in the eighth grade.
“I have done pigs too but I passed them on to my sister,” he said.
Harper said showing is a good experience partly because of the life lessons it teaches.
“It teaches you how to take responsibility and how to work hard,” he said.
“Hard work pays off.”
The life lessons that the young participants learn is one reason that Rochell said the show is so important.
“The kids that show learn a whole lot more about responsibility,” he said. “They also learn about teamwork, teamwork prior to the show and teamwork during the show.”
Another reason the show is important is the way it brings families together.
Not only do families watch as their loved ones participate in the bonus sale but for many of the competitors, they have been supporting them all year. For most, their family was how they got started showing.
“My family has always been real big in ag,” competitor Morgan Strawn said.
Strawn, a sophomore with Empire FFA won Division Champion in the Meat Goat Wether contest.
“Goats are my favorite,” she said.
“They are so sweet. They have so many different personalities. You never know what you are going to get with them.”
“I walk them and feed them,” Strawn said. “They eat everything I put in front of them.”
Strawn’s goat brought in $925. In this competition and past competitions, Strawn has won first in her division, earned Showmanship awards and breed champions.
She also has been showing for three years in which she said she has improved by taking in all the advice that has been bestowed upon her. As an example, Strawn said last year she won third place in Showmanship but after soaking up tips about showing, she improved that this year to win the first place Showmanship award in her class.
Strawn’s family background was what got her interested in showing livestock but it has become a part of her life.
“I have two years left in this show and I am going to live them up,” she said.
Rochell said overall the show went smoothly this year although there were some initial concerns about the weather. In the next month, the fair board will begin preparing for the Stephens County Free Fair in August.
The total proceeds from the sale were expected to be unavailable until Wednesday or Thursday.
A full list of Grand Champion and Reserve Grand Champion winners with pictures will be available in Tuesday’s edition of The Duncan Banner.