Blue vests and big smiles filled Ed Teague Arena March 15 as more than 150 young people competed in the Alabama Junior Beef Exposition Showmanship Contest.
Each participant received a blue fleece vest from the Alabama Farmers Agriculture Foundation. Students groomed and showed heifers and steers of various sizes, breeds and colors, competing for more than $10,000 in prize money sponsored by Alfa Insurance and the Alabama Farmers Federation.
Livestock judge Deb Core of Pleasantville, Iowa, complimented the young Alabama showmen as they led their calves around the ring.
“This is my first trip to Alabama, and I don’t know what I expected, but competition is alive and well here,” she said. “You have done an outstanding job preparing your calves, and it shows.”
The showmanship classes were part of the Southeastern Livestock Exposition, which included the State Steer and Heifer Show.
Champion exhibitors at the Alabama Junior Beef Expo were Connor Moore of Chambers County, junior division; Clay Tew of Dale County, intermediate division; and Reid McGuire of Lee County, senior division. They each received $600 in prize money. Reserve champions in each division received $400.
For 10-year-old Christy Daniel of Hayneville, the show was exciting and a little nerve-wracking. It was her first state competition.
“I’ve enjoyed it,” said the fifth-grader from Catoma Elementary School. “I’ve learned a lot and had fun.”
Federation President Jimmy Parnell said sponsoring programs like the calf show is at the heart of the organization’s mission.
“Seeing all these young people with their families and knowing they are interested enough to be here is encouraging,” Parnell said. “There are a lot of good things young people can be involved in, but we need to provide all the encouragement we can to those who are interested in agriculture.
“These students are the future of our state and our organization,” he added. “Twenty years from now, they will be the leaders of our state and the leaders of our farming community.”
For more photos from the event, visit the Federation’s Facebook page at Facebook.com/AlabamaFarmers.
Find more photos on the Federation’s Flickr page.