The annual Bell County Youth Fair and Livestock Show kicked off Saturday at the Bell County Expo Center after icy weather resulted in a slight delay.
The youth fair is held annually in conjunction with the Bell County PRCA Rodeo at the Expo Center, located at 301 W. Loop 121 in Belton.
More than 70 Belton students are participating in the Bell County Youth Fair this year, with students competing through Belton FFA and the Tigertown 4-H Club.
The Belton FFA program spans from grades 5 to 12 at schools in Belton ISD. The Belton FFA program is under the advisement of teachers Annie Fogle, Mitchell Hill, Jeffry Heffernan, Josh Flowers, Allison Hall, Brooke Gomer, Brad Hobbs and Lori Hobbs.
Fogle said that this year’s Fair and Livestock Show is especially meaningful for the students.
“I think it means a lot more just because in the last few years, there’s been so much uncertainty just in the agricultural world as far as stock shows and things like that, and we’ve seen an increased growth in the number of kids that have shown from the lot from two years ago to now,” Fogle said. “We’ve maxed out our Ag barn and our at home projects. We’ve gotten an increased number of participating as well.”
Fogle said that about half of the kids participating have placed and made auction at some point in their FFA career, while others are hoping to do so for the first time this year. Having the kids in FFA, with their projects, gives the kids more responsibility, Fogle added.
“They actually have animals to take care of. They come home, and the ones that keep them in our Ag barn, they have to make a point to go there in the morning before school and after school to make sure they’re fed, watered…exercised,” Fogle said. “I think it helps them too, because most people think, ‘Oh, you do the stock shows and those animals become pets.’ When in actuality, some of these animals will be loaded, and they will be sent to butcher markets or some of them might be set out to be bred and raise other animals or other livestock animals, and I think it helps them to see it full circle instead of just, ‘Oh, I’m going to show it and take it home and it’s gonna be my pet for the rest of my life,’ when it’s really not going to be.”
Fogle explained that most of the kids competing are showing in multiple categories and doing multiple projects. A total of 73 kids are competing through the Belton FFA.
“It really helps some of our kids that are really entrepreneurs to know like, ‘Hey, my input is this, and to make money, I need my output to be this,’ and those entrepreneur kids- man, they will hustle,” Fogle said. “They will do whatever they need to make auction. They will work their butts off. We have students that have multiple entries in the Family Consumer Sciences division because they quilted with their grandmothers or they baked and have family recipes they want to enter in, so they’re busy doing what they can trying to make auction with all those projects.”
The Belton Journal has the results for Belton students from the first two days of competition. The remaining category winners will be in next week’s publication, along with news of who made the Auction.
For the Fashion Revue, which was held Saturday, several students with the Tigertown 4-H Club took home ribbons.
The results below include the results of the Belton FFA students who competed, unless otherwise mentioned.
For the category of Breeding Swine, Tara Stone earned fifth place in Cross Breeds. Stone also took home Breed Champion for her Duroc. Kenzie Goldman won Breed Champion for her Dark OPB, while Avery Jones took home Reserve Champion for her Dark OPB. Goldman also took home Reserve Champion for her Light OPB.
The Market Swine show had 23 classes of swine. This year’s show resulted in Laken Easton winning second place for her Light Weight York. Riata Schoepf won third place for her Middle Weight York.
Makayla Coats earned fourth place with her Heavy Weight York, and Kenzie Goldman earned sixth place with her Heavy Weight York. Leah Cox took home third place wit her Light Weight Duroc.
Landon Grigsby took home fifth place with his Middle Weight Duroc.
Avery Jones earned second place with her Light Heavy Weight Duroc.
Ava Canales took home sixth place with her Light Heavy Weight Duroc.
Goldman also took home 1st place for her Heavy Weight Duroc, while Laney Smoczyk took home fourth place for hers.
Brayden Barrera, with the Tigertown 4-H Club, earned eighth place for his Heavy Weight Duroc.
Tara Stone earned second place for her Lightweight Cross Breed, and Gage White earned eighth place for his.
Carter Hitt took home Reserve Breed Champion for their Light Medium Weight Cross Breed. Anna Catherine Cox took home third, and Grace Walters took home fourth, while Ayden Smith took home sixth, and Sarah Bell Cox took home ninth place.
Rylan Norwood took home seventh place for her Middle Weight Cross Breed.
Makayla Coats took home second place for her Middle Heavy Weight Cross Breed, and Carter Hitt took home third place. Tigertown 4-H’s Brayden Barrera took home 10th place.
For Class 12, Cole Jackson earned ninth place for his Heavy Weight Cross Breed.
Tara Stone took first place for her Light Weight Dark OPB, while Emma Canales took home fourth place in the same category.
Sarah Bell Cox took third place for her Middle Weight Dark OPB.
Emma Canales also earned third place for her Heavy Weight Dark OPB, while Layton Barrera, with Tigertown 4-H, took home fourth place.
In Class 16, for the Light Weight Berk category, Tigertown 4-H’s Paisley Young earned third place. Another Tigertown 4-H student, Carter Thompson earned 10th place for their Light Weight Hamp, in Class 18.
Belton FFA also placed several times for Class 19- Middle Weight Hamp. Rylan Norwood earned first place for her Middle Weight Hamp, while Kenzie Goldman earned third place; Ava Canales earned fifth place; Laken Easton earned sixth place; and Avery Jones earned eighth place.
Riata Schoepf earned second place for her Light Heavy Weight Hamp. Audrey Hitt earned fourth place, and Madilyn Alsup earned 10th place in the same category.
Tara Stone earned second place for her Heavy Weight Hamp, while Emma Canales earned sixth place in the same category.
Wyatt Young, with Tigertown 4-H Club, earned ninth place for his Light Weight Light OPB.
The final class for Market Swine, Class 23, was for Heavy Weight Light OPB. Layton Barrera, of the Tigertown 4-H Club, earned third place. Avery Jones earned sixth place, while Audrey Hitt earned eighth place.
Tuesday saw Belton students compete in the Rabbit (Breeding) and Goat categories, Wednesday for Sheep and Lambs, along with Rabbits (Fryer). Wednesday also was the Family Consumer Science Awards Ceremony. Today, students will move in turkeys and chickens (Broilers and Roasters). Friday will see students participating in Livestock Judging, Ag Product ID and will finish with the PRCA rodeo at 7:30 p.m.
On Saturday, the Premium Auction Sale and Awards begins at 10 a.m., with the fair wrapping up on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m., with the Parade of Champions during the PRCA rodeo.
The PRCA Rodeo is currently in its 34th year, and all of the net proceeds from the rodeo go to the Bell County Youth Fair Board and are then distributed to the youth of Bell County, according to Bell County PRCA Rodeo website. Last year, the Bell County Youth Fair awarded over $25,000 in scholarships to local area youths, according to a blurb on the PRCA Rodeo ticket page.