The planning started before last year’s final animal was sold.
And it kicks into gear for this year on Monday morning.
The 2014 Navarro County Youth Expo begins its week-long run Monday, culminating in what organizers hope will be another record-setting premium sale, recognizing the efforts of youth from across Navarro County.
Volunteers and organizers have been busy the last few weeks finalizing all the show arrangements, and co-chair Jeff Nelson is excited about the 2014 Youth Expo.
“Every year we try to make it bigger and better and more exciting for the kids, and I think this year will be no exception,” Nelson said Friday, taking a break from work at “the barn” setting up for Monday’s start.
Nelson said volunteers have been spending countless hours getting the Youth Expo facility ready for the week with some improvements in the back barn, and is proud of a new addition set to make its debut Saturday — a brand new sale ring — made possible by several local business donations.
“It is incredible,” Nelson said. “I’m super excited for the kids to get to go through it ... it’s just one more addition that we have that will make them feel good about what they did.”
Nelson said the new sale arena — which will be set up Friday following the Thursday night Steer Show — will bring a fresh, modern look to the Saturday steak luncheon and sale.
While this week has seen a lot of focus on the facility and preparations, work by volunteers on the Youth Expo is really a year-round effort, Nelson said.
“There is so much prep work to put something like this on,” Nelson said. “There are people that are contributing money, time and energy out here at the barn and in the community, drumming up excitement all year long.”
Support for the event, he said, continues to grow, as evidenced by last year’s sale, and participation to date in getting the 2014 Youth Expo going.
“That’s what’s incredible to me,” Nelson said. “You very seldom walk into a place of business and say ‘I’m with the Navarro County Youth Expo’ and not hear them say ‘whatever you need, it’s yours.’”
With hundreds of kids lined up to participate in the event, Nelson said participation is up overall for the 2014 show.
“As normal, we always go through cycles in terms of one year where pigs will be up, one year goats will be down,” Nelson said, “but overall, the number of entries are increased and we like to see that — that means we’re doing something right.”
Actual competitions for the Youth Expo begin Monday for the Family and Consumer Science Division, and on Tuesday for the Agriculture Division.
In the Family and Consumer Science Division, the Food Division judging will begin at 9:30 a.m. Monday; Creative Arts and Quilt judging is 9:30 a.m. Tuesday; Food Challenge contest is 9 a.m. Wednesday; and the Consumer Decision Making contest is at 10:30 a.m. Friday.
Agriculture Division shows include the Broiler (Poultry) Division at 9 a.m. Tuesday; Commercial Heifers at 10 a.m. Tuesday; Swine Show at 5 p.m. Tuesday; Llama Show at 8 a.m. Wednesday; Ag Mechanics Judging at 9 a.m. Wednesday; Breeding Rabbits at 10 a.m. Wednesday; Lamb Show at 2 p.m. Wednesday, and Goat Show at 5 p.m. Wednesday. On Thursday, Meat Pen Rabbits will show at 10 a.m.; Registered Heifers at noon; and the Steer Show will be at 5 p.m. Thursday.
Friday features a day of team events, and reaches out to schools outside of Navarro County to participate. Youth participate in judging contests for livestock, land, and plant identification. A planned team poultry judging event was scrapped for this year.
Over 200 animal projects are expected to be a part of the Premium Sale, slated for 2 p.m. Saturday. A Silent Auction of items from the Food and Creative Arts Divisions will be held in the Expo Barn starting at 11 a.m. Saturday. A steak luncheon will be served starting at noon, leading up to the 2 p.m. sale.
Before the sale, a number of awards will be presented, including the dedication of the 56th Annual Youth Expo to some mainstays of the Navarro County event — the Waggoner Brothers, Lance, Dan and Dave. The three brothers have been a part of the Youth Expo’s team of adult leaders and volunteers for several years, helping raise funds and serve as members and leaders of various Youth Expo committees.
Asked about a particular goal for the 2014 sale, Nelson joked about his prediction of hitting the half-million mark last year.
But, he’s hoping to top it.
“We were so proud of that,” Nelson said of last year’s sale. “I wouldn’t say we’ve necessarily set a financial goal based on that huge increase we saw last year, but certainly we hope to beat that, and we’re going to do everything we can — and hope the community backs us — to beat that this year.”
Daily coverage of the events of the Navarro County Youth Expo will appear in the online and print editions of the Daily Sun, and on the Daily Sun’s Facebook page.
Bob Belcher may be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Want to “Soundoff” on this story? Email: email@example.com