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Livestock show events kick off Sunday

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Posted: Friday, January 11, 2019 7:39 am

The Hill Country District Junior Livestock Show starts Sunday, and volunteers have been working for weeks to prepare for it.

The event lasts for a week and allows children involved in 4-H and the National FFA organization show and sell the livestock that they have taken care of, as well as the items they have created using agricultural mechanics.

“As the week progresses, there will be different shows moving in and moving out at different times,” said Stephen Bauer, Hill Country District Junior Livestock Show Association president. “Unique about this show is that it’s a county show as well as a district show encompassing those 33 counties around us.”

Bauer said this year is the 75th anniversary of the show, and it has grown quite a bit over that time.

He said the event includes some statewide shows as well and that it is the fifth largest stock show in Texas.

“There are no paid people doing this,” Bauer said. “It’s all community members and businessmen and women who volunteer their time all year long to make sure this happens for the kids.”

Bobby Balser, the organization’s vice president, said that even though he is not paid in money, he still feels compensated for his time nonetheless.

“We are all paid in the smiles of the kids,” Balser said. “That’s what keeps us going.”

Bauer said he admires the community for its support of the program, whether it be just attending the show or being financially invested.

“They realize that we are investing in their future,” Bauer said. “Every dollar they lay down is an investment in our future for these young people to come back and be able to live in this community.”

It is not uncommon for the children involved to go through the program and come back to volunteer as a director, said Eric Lantz, who is the meat goat superintendent and serves on the organization’s executive board.

“Seeing them progress throughout the years and then graduate high school and go off to college, come back and help us and come back as directors and they get to see their kids start showing, that’s pretty special,” Lantz said.

When a child’s stock animal sells, all of the money goes to the child, said Rusty Henderson, the treasurer of the association.

“For most of them, it goes to their college fund,” Henderson said. “They save over the whole period of time when they’re showing, and that can help out with college a whole lot.”

Lantz said that in addition to the money from selling animals, children participating in the show have the opportunity to earn scholarships.

Bauer said the organization, through donations and fundraising in the community, gives around $45,000 to $50,000 a year in scholarships to high school seniors and students already enrolled in tech schools, colleges or universities.

“Our country is lacking in trades, electricians, plumbers, welders and draftsmen, so this program also allows some of these kids to go to some of these technical schools, earn these technical certifications, immediately get out into the workforce and start making money,” said Mark Dunning, the agricultural mechanics superintendent and a member of the executive board.

Scholarship applications are open and must be postmarked by March 1. Bauer said students must apply online. To be eligible, students must have shown at least two years at the Hill Country District Junior Livestock Show in any department.

Of course, students must maintain high grades in order to participate, as with many extracurricular programs, said Henderson.

“There went lots of money down the drain if they don’t get to show,” Henderson said. “Because they invested in the animal, they invested in feed and time, there’s a big incentive to meet your grades.”

Dunning said one of his favorite parts of the program is the responsibility that it teaches to kids who participate in it.

“It teaches responsibility, character and discipline,” Dunning said. “That’s what this whole organization is about, it’s about developing youth to lead our country in the future.”

Lantz added that after making a contribution to the program, kids will send a thank-you card in the mail.

“It’s written to where you can hardly read it, being that it’s a 6-year-old writing you a letter,” Bauer said. “It’s pretty cool.”

Bauer said all are welcome to witness the livestock show, which does not cost anything to attend.

“These kids are some of the best ambassadors for our programs that we’ve got because they eat, live all of this stuff,” he said.

The event will have many different animal shows, including meat goats, Angora goats, gilts, breeding sheep, swine, lambs, heifers and steers, as well as agricultural mechanics, vendors and concession stands.

The first event — when the county gilts arrive — is at 10 a.m. Sunday at the Hill Country Youth Event Center. All other events also are at the Hill Country Youth Event Center.

For a detailed schedule of the shows next week, as well as more information and applications for scholarship opportunities, go to

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