Glitter and glam, boots, and clay dirt. Cows, bell bottoms, and halter tops. Because this is TEXAS, baby!
Folks from all walks of life met together in late March this year to support kids at the Wood County Junior Livestock Show held in Quitman. The event, which ran from March 28 to March 31, was chocked full of events like ag mechanics shows, goat shows, and even photography and floral contests.
A total of 267 kids were signed up to attend in 2023. Who all participated? Wood County 4-H. FFAs (Future Farmers of America) from Winnsboro. Yantis. Mineola. Alba-Golden. Hawkins. Quitman. So yeah, pretty much everybody.
The livestock show was a huge, blowout affair. According to show officials, 600-800 people came by to participate or watch the show per day. This means that almost 3,000 folks showed up over the course of the four-day, family-oriented event.
Vendors, contests, auctions, and more made it what it was. While twangy country music floated through the dusty air, kids barely out of diapers toddled around in size one boots and oversized bell bottom jeans. Dads milled about in herds, sipping beers and chatting. Little boys ran around tackling each other and playing football, while older siblings stood in groups eating, laughing, and sipping slushies.
“It is awesome. It has been a family affair, and it’s been really, really nice to have it. Like I said, this is their first year to do it, and I think they’ve had a really good response,” said Mandy Horn, a vendor at the event and also a mother of one of the show’s competitors.
And not only was the livestock show a huge family event and a time to catch up, but it was also for a good cause. Profits from the show went to sponsor Quitman ISD’s new agriculture barn, which was built just 21 days before the event and features more than 13,000 square feet of space. This space has been dedicated to help Quitman students grow, experience, and learn about all things agricultural.
According to the WCJLS Facebook page, everyone who bought at least one “lot” during the show’s special Friday night auction received an invitation for a free dinner. The dinner was sponsored by the Show Board of the Wood County Junior Livestock Show. Located at the Neon Moon in Yantis, the event was held “to show [the Livestock Board’s] appreciation for Supporting the Youth of Wood County!”
A major highlight of the show was the announcement of scholarship winners. According to show officials, up to $30,000 in scholarships were expected to be given away, These were funded through the raffling of 10 prizes, which were donated specifically for the scholarship fundraiser. 14 businesses and individuals contributed to sponsor the show. Potts Feed Store, Texas Farm Bureau Insurance, and Peoples Telephone Cooperative, Inc. were the three “Platinum Sponsors.”
In all, 110 lots were sold.
The auction was held in the honor of the late Burke Bullock, the well-known ag teacher and mentor from Quitman. Bullock was also a volunteer fireman, deacon, Hopkins County Commissioner, and member on the Wood County Electric Co-op Board for many years. He helped found the Wood County Junior Livestock Show.
The Wood County Junior Livestock Show brought in a lot of people this year. They were running around, laughing, playing football, learning how to lasso, selling things, and showing animals. They wer also remembering Wood County members now gone, and investing in the futures of those growing up.
At the end of the event, everyone definitely went home exhausted. But it was a really, really good kind of exhausted.