County fair provides youth chance to showcase livestock

By Casey Peacock: PNT Staff Writer

It’s show time!

The countdown is on for area kids to showcase their skills at the upcoming Roosevelt County Fair. After months of preparation, all their hard work will be on display in the show ring and indoor exhibits this week.

For Jalayna Roberts, 13, of Dora, says this has been a busy summer. She will be showing dairy heifers, breeding beef heifers, lambs and goats. She will also be entering items in the sewing and baking departments.

“We have to pick out animals. This year I bought my breeding beef heifers, dairy heifers, goats and some of my lambs. Then we have to start working with them and validate them,” said Roberts.

Before the kids ever make it to the show ring, they put in many hours getting their animals ready. The animals have to be fed, exercised and taught the proper way to be “set-up” or positioned in the show ring for the judge. In some cases they also have to be halter broken, said the competitors.

Arianne Cox, 9, is also getting ready for the fair. For Arianne this will be her first year to show goats. She will be showing rabbits and horses as well. Though one of the younger competitors at the fair, Arianne is no stranger to the show ring. She has been showing horses since she was five and has also shown her rabbits at the fair.

“You’ve got to brace them and practice leading them,” said Cox about getting her goat ready to show. “You also have to get to know your goat.”

Bracing is another term for setting-up the animal to present it to the judge.

Her favorite part of getting her goat, Tango, ready for the fair is leading him around.

Competing since he was 8, Casey O’Connor, 18, has been showing for the last 10 years. Involved in FFA since the seventh grade, and 4-H before that, he has put many hours into getting ready for the fair.

O’Connor will be showing five pigs and one lamb this year at the fair. He will also be traveling to the Eastern New Mexico State Fair and the New Mexico State Fair to compete with his pigs.

Another aspect of working with show animals, is what it teaches the competitor. A few of the things that have to be done before they ever get to the show ring include feeding, weighing, clipping and washing, O’Connor said.

“It’s been a lot of fun. It teaches you how to work, O’Connor said. “ You make a lot of friends at the fair.”