By Rebecca Pasqueda, Correspondent
Youth of all ages from Bell County and the surrounding areas traveled to Belton to participate in the Youth Fair with their goats, sheep, cattle, pigs, rabbits and roosters to be judged. The event took place at the Expo Center from Feb. 4-11 for a week of showing, judging and hopefully placing for some participants.
“This Youth Fair is definitely different from the one back home. Ours back in the Cranfills Gap area is much smaller but also much more crowded,” said onlooker Kristian Sorenson. Sorenson is a student at UMHB who shares a common interest with the youth in attendance. “When I was in junior high and high school, I showed goats at my local fair. I looked forward to it every year, and not just because I got to skip school to show.”
Various events and judging took place throughout the week on different days as the youth participants woke up early every day to prepare their animals for show. The judging of rabbits took place on Tuesday afternoon in which participants placed their rabbits in cages as a judge walked around examining them.
“The rabbits are judged based on the class they come from. There are different classes so it makes the judging a bit fairer for this kind of thing and allows more room for placing,” said the judge the event began. The judge walked around, randomly picking a rabbit to judge and taking it out to let it hop about the platform near its cage. Ribbons were handed out as they were judged according to their weight and classification.
“Events like this are the more relaxing ones of the fair. The more exciting part is when the kids actually walk around showing off their animals in the arena in front of the judges,” said Sorenson. In this event, participants’ animals – pigs and cattle – are judged according to their appearance, class, fat and muscle.
Besides the showing and judging of the participants’ animals, another event took place in which the tables were turned on who was judging the animals. On Friday morning, the youth were divided into eight different groups and were shuffled around the arena to judge for themselves two different groups of cattle, pigs, sheep, and goats. Each participant had judging sheets and observed near and far the different animals to judge them accordingly.
“This event helps the youth know what makes a good animal for show so that in the future, they can look for that in their own animals,” Sorenson said.
The Bell County Youth Fair ended on Saturday, Feb. 11 with a PRCA Rodeo to end the night. For more information about the fair, visit http://agrilife.org/bellctyyouthfair/.