This past week I was traveling around the county to supervise the 4-H livestock projects that will be exhibited in the Central Texas Youth Fair slated for February 25 – March 1. Our kids have been and will continue to work with their animals in preparation for the event. I can remember, oh so long ago, when I was a 4-H member, the hours and hours of time I spent practice-showing my animals and grooming them in preparation for the show. I suppose I was the eternal optimist as I thought every animal I exhibited as a kid had the potential to win it all. But of course, that is not the case as every animal cannot win the title of Grand Champion.
I believe 4-H and FFA as well as every other youth organization or organized sports league are suppose to provide the youth the opportunity for success. What our kids do with that opportunity is mostly up to them. Some will win Grand Champion and most will not, but nearly all of them will spend hours and hours of time feeding, grooming and practice-showing their animals in preparation for the fair. It is in these long hours of preparation that 4-H members receive or are instilled with valuable character traits that will last them a life time. Trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship, to name a few, are the tools that will last a lifetime.
Next week I hope you come down to the Fairgrounds in Clifton and see these character traits on exhibition. Of course you will have to observe most of these through the project that they are exhibiting. Look for the healthy, well-fed animals that indicate the youth learned trustworthiness and responsibility for feeding and caring for the animal at least twice a day. Watch for the kid and animal working as one in the show ring, which shows diligence and sacrifice of leisure time while practicing at home. Observe the kid who displays fairness and courtesy in the show ring. Search for the youth that exhibit citizenship by keeping their pens and stalls neat and clean. A lifetime of lessons will be on display. Come and See.
At the Central Texas Youth Fair, your Home Economics entries need to be brought in on Tuesday. On Thursday, February 27, all livestock will be weighed in and beef heifers will have their papers checked. Rabbits will also be shown on Thursday. All other animals will show on Friday. Don’t forget to check out the Ag Mechanics Show and the Home Economics barn. A highlight of the fair is the Livestock and Baked Products SALE on Saturday at noon.