(Posted June 22, 2022)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
“I really like animals, and I wanted to do 4-H, but I never had done it before,” said Carlee Mason, 12, about why she participated in Livestock 101 at last year’s Madison County Fair.
New as of last year, Livetock 101 is designed for youths like Mason to give them a taste of what it’s like to show an animal and participate in the fair. Participants choose a specie to show, are paired with an experienced 4-H or FFA member for coaching, then show the animal in the show ring before a real-life judge. It’s as close to an actual Junior Fair livestock show experience as it comes for youths who are not enrolled in 4-H or FFA.
“The goal of Livestock 101 is to get kids involved in 4-H and FFA and see the difference that livestock can make in helping to create their work ethic, responsibility and compassion. It’s also designed to show them that anyone can do it, no matter where they are from or their background,” said Paul Gross, Senior Fair Board president.
Approximately 145 youths took part in the event last year. Most hailed from Madison County.
“On a scale of 1 to 10, it was about a 15,” Gross said about the event’s debut. “We had the entire bleachers filled with spectators. The kids that showed had an exceptional experience. And the 4-Hers and FFAers who helped the kids walked around with pride. It was such a show of youth leadership, it gave you goosebumps.”
Mason definitely came away with a positive experience. She showed a pig and won her class, taking home an actual pig as her prize for first place.
“It went good. I learned a lot about pigs, like how to walk them and how, if they get hot, they can’t sweat so you have to rinse them off,” she said.
Since last year’s fair, Mason has joined a 4-H club (Speedy Spurs) and continued to learn more about pigs. She will be showing her prize pig at this year’s fair.
Livestock 101 is open to youths who are 17 years old and younger. There is no cost to participate. The sign-up deadline is July 1. Online registration is available at https://madisoncountyfairoh.com/livestock-101.
Participants receive an event t-shirt and are eligible to win prizes. This year’s event takes place at 10 a.m. July 15 in the Eby Arena.
This year’s fair dates are July 9-16.