2021 Cherokee County Junior Livestock Show underway
Pastoral sounds of mooing, bleating and neighing have returned to the county show barn as participants from various FFA chapters and 4-H Clubs help kick off the 2021 Cherokee County Junior Livestock Show and Exhibition on Wednesday.
And officials couldn’t be more thrilled at their return.
“We have so many people saying they want to come to the show, or to buy a show project, even others telling us, ‘I can’t wait to see everybody again,” said show president Bart Bauer of the March 24-27 event.
Now in its 73nd year, this year’s show includes approximately 400 exhibits and 700 projects offered by participants from seven different school districts competing in 17 different events that kick off at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday with the Baked Goods category.
New this year is a schedule change for the horse competition, which has been moved to the evening, this year at 6 p.m. Thursday.
“We thought we could reach more people … schedules are harder on kids, a majority of who have more than one project at the show,” Bauer said. “There are several benefits (with the schedule change): fewer people impacted because there are no time conflicts.”
Another notable change to this year’s show is more covered space provided as a result of inclement weather.
“I look at the two things we overcame in the past 12 months: COVID and SNOVID,” Bauer quipped.
The pandemic shuttered the event in 2020, while a week-long snow event across the state in mid-February created havoc at the show barn.
“Pipes froze and part of the barn collapsed,” Bauer said. “We rebuilt part of the barn in three weeks, thanks to the excellent contractors we had – now, there’s an extra 4,000 square feet of barn space, which is a covered area.”
The 2020 show was to have been the debut of the Exceptional Kids Stockshow, but will now debut in 2022.
“Their excitement is contagious … it’s spilling over into the community, and I think the turnout is going to be great,” he said. “We didn’t have a traditional show or sale last year, so people want to see it hap-pen.”
Historically, the county stock show has grown by 30 percent annually, the only exception being 2020, because of the pandemic.
“That’s based upon the money from the show itself, which goes directly back to the kids through things like scholarships,” he said.
Other money directly impacts the local economy, said County Judge Chris Davis.
“Anytime we have a gathering this size, it’s a benefit to the economy,” he said. “The local restaurants fill up, people are buying fuel for their vehicles and the kids and their families are going back and forth to Tractor Supply, Atwoods and Walmart, getting things they need for the show.”
However, for him, seeing the skills and lessons and values imparted as participants invest time and work in their projects is much more impressive.
“The younger ones see the older kids showing, they see how exciting it is and it’s something they want to do,” Davis said. “The values and the other things the kids get along the way, to me, is even more im-portant than the economic benefits of the show.”
The Cherokee County Junior Livestock Show and Exhibition will run March 24-27, at the show barn lo-cated at 611 S.E. Loop 456 in Jacksonville. The schedule of events can be found at cherokeecountyexpo.org.
Organizers are adhering to current health safety guidelines throughout the show to keeping with pan-demic policies.
According to the Texas Department of State Health Services (dshs.texas.gov), current safety guidelines strongly encourage the use of masks when six feet of social distancing from people not in the same household is not feasible, but masks are no longer legally required.
The state website also provides minimum operating guidelines specifically for equestrian/rodeo events, which include encouraging remote ticketing options, ensure proper spacing between patrons in the are-na, and other guidelines relating to proper food service, health protocols for workers and volunteers, and health protocols for the facility used.
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