10 Reasons Why Sponsoring a Youth Livestock Show is Worth the Money

1. These kids have great character.

This group of kids work hard for months, working with and caring for their animal. Many of them wake up early before school to feed and come home to work with their animal after school too. They work in the heat, rain, snow, and ice and deal with equipment malfunctions, sick animals, escape stock, and trying to get an animal to gain weight for the show. It isn’t easy and takes an incredible amount of dedication. If that isn’t enough, these kids love what they do! They have a passion for showing and that shines through. For our county’s spring show, the participants give up a whole spring break to show their animal, exhibiting their dedication.

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These youngsters are filled with camaraderie for each other, and are always willing to chip in to help. They often exhibit excellent sportsmanship, congratulating each other on a job well done. They attend workshops before the show to learn more, and compile a record book of their efforts after the show. The show is not a one and done day deal. It take months, and these kids are willing to do it. If you want to see hard working, responsible, dedicated, passionate, kids who are all often friends, look no farther than livestock show participants.

2. Raising livestock is expensive

i use to have money

It doesn’t matter if you buy a cheap goat or the most expensive one on the farm, raising an animal is expensive. Feed, medication, and supplies all goes into costs. Feed on the cheap end is around 10 dollars a bag, but to raise the best show animal possible, you are looking at 15 and even 20 dollars a bag, and these bags may not even last a week, depending on the species of animal. If you are lucky enough to not have to buy any medication for your animal, there is still the costs of supplies such as clippers, halters, hog sticks, shampoo, brushes, and more. Those in the livestock joke that showing is not a money making business; however, getting close to breaking even would be nice.

3. The money goes to next year’s livestock project

For most, showing livestock is addictive. It is hard to do it just once, which brings up the matter of next year. Money received from the sale, often goes toward next year’s livestock project. Next year holds the hopes of bettering oneself and seeing friends from the previous year. Having the funds to invest in another livestock project is crucial, and even having a larger budget thanks to the sponsors of the sale holds the promise of being able to perform better in the next show.

4.Much of the money goes into a college fund

I cannot tell you how many show families I know, that their rule is any money made from the sale goes into a fund for college. After more than a decade of showing for some of these kids, they have a substantial fund to put towards college. The sale is more than money for a kid who shows a pig. The sale provides scholarships for the future education of youth. With rising tuition costs, this is major. Becoming a buyer in a livestock show and sale is often sponsoring a scholarship for a child’s college fund. It is literally adding to the piggy bank.

5. It teaches the kids financial and budgeting skills

As a part of a good livestock project, youth keep track of their expenses and what they make at the sale. For our sale, they must do a worksheet that tracks their outcome, income, and their profit or lack of profit. When I was little, I did not realize the extent of money that went into my livestock project until that worksheet was filled out. At that moment, I realized just how much finances went into showing livestock.

6.You will be appreciated forever

There are one of two ways that a child gets a buyer/sponsor. The first is if they personally ask an organization or individual to support them in the sale. The second way is to have someone in the sale crowd to bid on their animal. Either way, the excitement  and appreciation that accompanies the knowledge that someone is sponsoring you is profound–not just for the child but for the parent as well. While not every child gets the same amount of money, any amount is celebrated and appreciated. Don’t be surprised to receive a picture and thank you letter later from the child you sponsored.

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7. You don’t have to bring an animal home

Although giving money is often referred to as a buyer and the sale is run like any other auction with the words “SOLD!” stated, it does not mean that you take an animal home. The only thing you are taking home is the image of smiling child. The only one bringing animals home is the person bidding on support price.

8. It is crucial in helping to continue the program

A show’s success is often contingent on the individuals it comprises of. Parents, youth, and volunteers all take part in the program. Sponsoring the show and sale, helps support these individuals and the program and therefore allows it to continue for years to come. Show and Sales are often many decades old and are attended by generations of people. It is a tradition that would be tragic to die.

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9.You are impacting the next generation in a profound way

It goes beyond providing financial support to a child, by sponsoring, you are impacting that child at a much deeper level. They notice when someone bids on their animal. They know when they are being supported or when they aren’t. Believe me, they are grateful for that support. It provides encouragement and excitement along with finances for their endeavors.

10. Because there is nothing cuter than a kid at the end of a hog stick or show halter

Need I say more?

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Show and Sale 2015: Preparation Days

This week marks one of my favorite weeks of the year–our county’s livestock show and sale. While I can no longer show because I’m an old lady now, I do get to go watch my brothers and other youth younger than me show.Even though the show is not until Wednesday and Thursday, preparations are in full swing.

Prep work for the show starts days beforehand. In reality, it really starts the day we get the animal. From that moment, feeding, training, practicing, and learning are all done in preparation for the big day. It is a matter of hard work and some serious dedication. This week, there has been some added prep work that goes along with the days leading up to the show.

Yesterday, the boys and I finished clipping the goats and pigs. We trimmed the goats’ hooves and horns and then moved on to haircuts. I let the boys trim all they can by themselves on both sets of animals. After they have done all they can, I come in and do the tricky parts and touch-ups. When they get older and more experienced, they can do it all by themselves. Clipping is always an adventure, because the animals don’t always want to cooperate. I was covered in goat hair after the goats. We had to clip the pigs on the go as they walked around their pen. I was standing on my head a couple of times or had to let them chew on my boot to preoccupy them while the boys clipped. It is an adventure that requires an immediate shower afterwards.

Can you see the difference clipping makes?
Can you see the difference clipping makes?

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Today, we went to the fairgrounds to set pens up. The boys picked their pens out, spread shavings, and dusted off the fencing. On Wednesday morning we will go back to weigh in the animals and put them in their pens. Wednesday evening is the goat show, and the hog show will be Thursday morning, followed by the sale that evening.

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Well, that is the latest from the farm. We have a big week coming up. If you are in the area, feel free to drop by the Wayne County Fairgrounds to cheer our showman on! If you can’t come by, stay tuned for updates as the show progresses via social media or here on the blog.