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Home News-Telegram News Northeast Texas Livestock Junior Dairy Show carries on tradition

Northeast Texas Livestock Junior Dairy Show carries on tradition

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At least 65 years of tradition continues on Saturday with the annual Northeast Texas Livestock Association’s Junior Dairy Show, held in conjunction with  the Hopkins County Dairy Festival, the weeklong salute to the dairy industry.

“Last year, we had 85 head of cattle,” said dairy show coordinator Amy Bowen. “This is one of the largest shows of this type in the state. We have them come from Cleburne, Nacogdoches, Royse City and from all over the state. We would love to break over 85 this year.”

Bowen fondly recalls competing in the dairy show herself from the time she was 5 years old up until she graduated from high school. She said the livestock association teams with the Dairy Festival board to sponsor the event to give youngsters who  don’t get to attend major expositions like the Fort Worth and San Antonio stock shows the chance to compete close to home.

“I don’t have dairy cows now, but I try to help keep the the dairy show going,” she said. “We do it for the kids.”

The event didn’t start out just for young farmers, though.

“When I was growing up, we had the open show and the junior show,” Bowen said. “Over the years, its evolved to become devoted strictly for kids.”

It hasn’t always been at the same location, either. Brody Koon, who’s been involved in the dairy business and the dairy show most of his life, said he can remember back to his first show — he thinks it was about 1944 — when the event was held at the old cotton warehouse on Jefferson Street. The show moved around to other locations over the next 35 years or so until the Civic Center was built. It’s been held there every year since.

Any youngster who has completed second grade and will be entering third grade during the fall semester can enter, and eligibility extends through the current year’s high school graduates. An entry fee of $15 per head is charged.

There’s another draw to the show besides the thrill of competition and the satisfaction of a job well done — the prizes don’t hurt the draw.

This year, for example, Southwest Dairy Farmers contributed $3,000, and several other businesses including Dairy Max, Agrimax Financial Services, Dairy Farmers of America, Martindale Feed and Legacy Ag Credit provide championship awards, according to Bowen.

Among the prizes will be backpack-style book bags proclaiming the accomplishments of junior champions at the show.

“Dairy Max also donated blankets with their logo and our logo on them. They’re really beautiful,” Bowen noted. “We couldn’t do this without industries, business and individuals in the community.”

Wins in Brown Swiss, Holstein, Jersey and a fourth class composed of any other dairy breed will be announced throughout the NETLA Jr. Dairy Show, which officially kicks off at 10 a.m. Saturday.

“We’re still getting entries,” Bowen said. “There’s still time to sign up.”

Those youths who still want to enter can simply contact Amy Bowen at 903-488-2333 to register, or they can plan to be at the Civic Center before 8:30 a.m. Saturday and sign up then. All livestock must be in place at 8:30 Saturday morning, however.

Event staff should be at the arena by about 7 a.m. Saturday to help entrants get set up, and will also be at the arena Friday for those who want to drop their livestock off for the night.

 

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