By Everett Brazil, III
The Newkirk Herald Journal
NEWKIRK— The Kay County Youth Farm Center was filled with activity Saturday, Feb. 5. Normally vacant during most of the year, there were many pickups and livestock trailers lining the streets in the blocks around the facility that day, as Newkirk 4-H and FFA members descended upon the scene for the annual local livestock show.
Newkirk FFA Advisor Bailey Reinart was busy throughout the day as she helped coordinate the animals into and out of the ring. Still exhausted Monday afternoon, she reflects on how the show went.
“I think it went smooth. Everybody had a good time, and there were a lot of good learning opportunities,” she said.
Students competed in a number of divisions, including sheep, goats, heifers, steers, and gilt and barrow swine. Each competitor put in a lot of work to take care of their animals, including cleaning stalls, feeding and watering and taking care of their overall comfort.
Taking care of the animals teaches many lessons they can apply to their lives.
“They learn responsibility, caring for others and animals,” Reinart said. “They learn the value of hard work, putting in the time and effort.”
The students themselves understand what it means to raise the show projects.
Matthew Mayse has raised and shown sheep and goats since his freshman year, four years ago. Older brother Timothy and younger brother Lane also have shown, proving livestock shows to be a family tradition.
“It is fun, the competitiveness, trying to be good at something,” he said.
Mayse was one of two seniors recognized at the event, along with Emalee Kelly. He had mixed emotions about his last year showing animals.
“It’s sad, and because this is my last time, I have mixed emotions,” he said.
Livestock shows have their own culture, and for those who grow up around them, the emotions are strong. The same is for parents, who watch and help their kids in raising and taking care of the many animals they may show.
Mayse’s mother, Denyse is also sad at the end of another senior’s season.
“We’ll miss it,” she said. “Show moms get to be a family.”
The show was a success, and the FFA and 4-H are happy with how the show turned out.
“They did a good job. The Boosters did a good job with getting prizes for the kids,” Reinart said. “We definitely want to thank the Booster Club for putting this together.”