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The Cleveland County Junior Livestock Show is in its 78th year of providing Cleveland County 4-H and Future Farmers of America clubs the opportunity for kids to get experience and practice showing their animals prior to the larger state show, according to Casey Pollan, Public Relations Director.
This annual show is put on by the Cleveland County Junior Livestock Organization with the support of many generous donors. Hosted at the Cleveland County Fairgrounds, 615 E. Robinson St., Norman, the show will run from Feb. 21-24. Parking is free and there is no fee to watch the competitions.
“The show is for any exhibitor who is a current member of 4-H or FFA Chapter member within Cleveland County,” Pollan said. “This is an opportunity to bring in kids from all over the county. It’s a unique show. They check in on Tuesday and will be there through Friday.”
The event also helps cement friendships between Cleveland County kids coming from a wide range of communities.
“Those kids are hanging out for two or three days, getting to know each other,” Pollan said. “It’s not like a show where you show up then go home. It’s an opportunity for these kids to share their experience with their peers.”
Pollan said the event is a great opportunity for the students to network, learn from each other and have fun.
“This show is for everyone from the first-year novice to the senior who’s been attending the Cleveland County Livestock Show since they were nine years old,” he said. “It’s for everybody.”
Champions will go home with more than just bragging rights. There are premiums and awards galore at this show.
“All of the breed champions and all the division champions will receive a banner, and then they will get a soft-shell cooler,” said Michael Thompson, who helps behind-the scenes. “We’ll give 46 of those awards away. And we’ll give monogrammed jackets to the 12 showmanship winners.”
Additionally, Thompson said the grand, reserve grand and bronze medallion winners will receive belt buckles. All of these awards are customized to the show each year.
“Also getting a belt buckle is a master showmanship winner,” Thompson said. “They’ll pick a first and second out of species, and those eight kids compete for the master showmanship. We also give out banners to all of the reserve breed and reserve champion winners. That’s something we started new a couple of years ago.”
Every award has a dedicated sponsor and other sponsors support the show, paying for general show expenses and paying the premiums the competitors receive.
“The show would not be what it is today without our sponsors,” Thompson said.
While Thompson helps behind the scenes, he prefers not to hold an official title, leaving him free to work with his daughter and other kids who are showing.
“Adi shows pigs and goats,” he said. “For us, this is what we do as a family and what we invest our time and energy into. What I see in Adi and these kids is the work ethic and the self-discipline and self-motivation.”
Thompson said no matter the weather, these kids have to take care of their animals. They have to know the animals and what their needs are.
“It teaches the kids to be responsible and work hard and take care of something,” he said. “And it’s not immediate gratification. They work all year with these animals and maybe show them two or three times.”
Pollan agrees on the merits of the work ethic associated with raising and showing livestock.
“If you can teach a kid to shovel manure, you can teach them to do a lot of things in this world,” Pollan said.
The show continues to improve each year and to move forward with the times.
“This year the organization voted to become a 501C(3) nonprofit and we’re excited about this opportunity,” Pollan said.
In addition to the regular breed showing, the Lamb Lead contest will be hosted on Thursday evening of the three-day event.
To donate to support CCJLO or this event email Casey Pollan at firstname.lastname@example.org