Meet me at the fair

Holding onto 90-year tradition, the 2020 Central Texas Youth Fair plans to proceed with adapted schedule for June 2-6 event as Texas continues to re-open

CLIFTON – With some novel coronavirus COVID-19 social distancing being alleviated by Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s initial re-opening decree May 5, the Central Texas Youth Fair Board of Directors made the decision May 12 to continue with the oh-so-important annual youth livestock show dating back to 1931 planned for June 2-6.

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“The youth need something in the middle of all this,” CTYF President Ronnie Liardon said, referring to the cancellation of many major school activities, including a regular graduation and achievement banquets. “We will not surrender this last chance for our seniors to show their projects. We are looking forward to this year’s event, and we will make it work with the present restrictions.”

For the 90th Annual Central Texas Youth Fair, the board wants to reduce the number of spectators to comply with COVID-19 restrictions, asking participants to limit the amount of family members they invite. To keep people scattered and to reduce the amount of people on the fairgrounds and barns throughout the event, the CTYF board modified the schedule and format.

Instead of youth and their families staying several days with their animals, the animals not going on to the final sale will be released at the end of their show. All jackpot shows have been cancelled except for a jackpot heifer show for Bosque County residents only.

Additionally, the board asks participants to be mindful of other exhibitors by practicing social distancing in barns and wash racks.

Many of the social activities – like the popular Wednesday evening watermelon social – have been cancelled. But the concession stand will be open with minimal offerings.

And unfortunately, the adorable Pre-4-H swine, lamb and goat shows as well as the Saturday morning pet show was also cut from the schedule. These youngest of participants will have to wait another year to take their first steps into the show ring.

In many agricultural communities, people know the hours of disciplined dedication, careful preparation for a show, and the love of their animals instill a strong foundation in work ethic and character. Starting a livestock project is one thing, but there is no sitting around and being lazy with all the work in between and bringing your animal to the show.

With that in mind, the CTYF serves the youth of Bosque County by promoting and encouraging agriculture and horticulture educational development. The CTYF show is open to all Bosque County youth and all market animals, including steers, heifers, goats, sheep, swine, broilers and rabbits.

Their experiences prepare them as future leaders, especially if they use the funds raised by selling their show projects for a future college education.

Winning in the large stock shows like Fort Worth and Houston has its merits, but participating in the county show has added value. Judges take the time to explain why a certain animal has their preference; they often offer advice on how to improve the animal’s condition. The youth gain ring experience in a smaller more informal setting, surrounded by encouraging family and friends, and supportive fellow FFA chapter members, priming them for bigger shows.

In this 2020 COVID-19 year, though, the smaller version of the annual CTYF might turn out to be the most important show of all.

Therefore, the CTYF board is holding its collective breath for the next couple of weeks, knowing that the dreaded novel coronavirus might still wreak havoc, causing an increase in safety measures and a renewed shutdown of the state.

Participants are encouraged to check out the modified schedule and keep informed through the CTYF Facebook page: www.facebook.com/centraltexasyouthfair and the Bosque County Agrilife Extension website: www.bosque.agrilife.org/4-h/central-texas-youth-fair and Facebook page: www.facebook.com/BosqueCountyExtensionService

Photos by SIMONE WICHERS-VOSS

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