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DANIEL CLIFTON • PICAYUNE EDITOR

MARBLE FALLS — Even a hog needs a trim when getting ready for its big debut. So despite the cooler temperatures, Marble Falls High School senior and FFA member Travis Felps didn’t mind giving up some of his time to clip his hog.

“I’ll give him a trim today, then just touch him up the few days before the show,” Felps said.

The 2014 Burnet County 4-H & FFA Livestock Show on Jan. 9-11 marks Felps’ fourth year showing animals, particularly hogs. And though he has several years of experience, Felps knows each show is a new one and how it goes is anybody’s guess heading in. So, he and the hundreds of other area teens and youth entering the Burnet County or the Llano County Junior Livestock Show, also Jan. 9-11, understand it’s all the hard work and time put in the previous weeks and months that matter.

“You can’t just show up and expect to do well,” Felps said. “If you want to have a good show and have a chance at winning, you have to work with your animal.”

shlyn Walker, 9, gets ready for her first Burnet County 4-H & FFA Livestock Show in Burnet. The First Baptist Christian School student and Marble Falls 4-H Club member is showing rabbits in the Jan. 9-11 exhibit.
Ashlyn Walker, 9, gets ready for her first Burnet County 4-H & FFA Livestock Show in Burnet. The First Baptist Christian School student and Marble Falls 4-H Club member is showing rabbits in the Jan. 9-11 exhibit.

For Felps, it means at least twice daily trips between work, school and other activities to the Marble Falls High School barn to feed and work with his hog.

Yes, “work with” his hog. During the hog portion of the show, contestants walk their hogs around the ring to allow the judge a good look. A well-behaved hog has a better chance of properly presenting itself to the judge.

Time spent working with the hog the weeks leading up to the show, including walking it, can definitely pay off in the ring.

The youth livestock show gives 4-H and FFA members a chance to showcase their projects, which include hogs, chickens, rabbits, lambs, goats, steers, heifers and turkeys. Each species requires its own work and attention to detail.

While Felps is a veteran of the show, 9-year-old Ashlyn Walker is entering the Burnet County show for the first time with a pen of rabbits. The First Baptist Christian School student and Marble Falls 4-H Club member admitted she wasn’t sure what it was going to be like in the ring, but she was looking forward to it.

But like Felps, getting her project ready for the ring wasn’t a matter of buying rabbits, putting them in a cage, feeding them and hoping for the best. Her mother, Tara Walker, who showed several different species when she competed, explained that even something as “simple” as rabbits isn’t that easy.

“You really have to monitor each of their food and weigh them every week to make sure they’re growing about the same rate,” Tara Walker said. “Because when you show them, you pick three rabbits, and the judge is looking for animals that are basically similar. There’s other things as well, but you don’t want three rabbits that are all different sizes.”

While the show gives the youth a chance to compete for ribbons and earn money during the premium sale, the real benefits are the ones they learn on the way to the show ring.

“Responsibility,” Tara Walker said in regards to what raising a livestock project teaches and what she hopes her daughter learns. “She has learned that something depends on her. She can’t just get the rabbits, put them in their cage and then forget about them. She has to take care of them.”

Felps agreed.

“You have to come out and you have to work with your animal if you want to do well,” he said. “But this is also something that depends on you. You have to take care of your animal. It takes time and work. You have to be responsible.”

Along with responsibility, Tara Walker hopes the rabbit project gives Ashlyn a chance to learn a bit of entrepreneurial skills. After the show, she is allowing Ashlyn to have a litter of rabbits with the end goal of selling them.

“It’s just a great chance to learn something,” she said.

The shows are open to the public. The Burnet County 4-H & FFA Livestock Show will be at the Burnet County Fair Grounds, 1301 Houston Clinton Drive in Burnet.

The Burnet show really starts rolling at 1:30 p.m. Jan. 9 with the grand opening and several shows following including dairy goats, Angora goats, poultry and Boer goats. The breeding sheep, rabbit, swine, steer and cattle are Jan. 10 with the Creative Meat & Bake Show on Jan. 11.

The premium sale is slated for 1 p.m. Jan. 11 at the fair grounds.

Burnet County AgriLIFE Extension Agent Wade Hibler will give live updates from the Burnet County show all three days on KBEY 103.9 FM Radio Picayune and at KBEYFM.com.

The Llano County Junior Livestock Show will be at the Llano Community Center, 2249 RR 152 in Llano. The bulk of the Llano County show is Jan. 10 with the lambs, swine, meat goats, turkeys, broilers and rabbits. On Jan. 11, the cattle show starts at 8:30 a.m.

The Llano County Junior Livestock Show’s premium sale starts at 6 p.m. Jan. 11 at Oestreich’s Rose, 809 W. Young St. (Texas 29) in Llano. The buyers mixer is at 5 p.m.

For more information on the shows, call the Llano County AgriLIFE Extenstion office at (325) 247-5159 or the Burnet County AgriLIFE Extension office at (512) 756-5463.

daniel@thepicayune.com

IF YOU GO

WHAT: Burnet County 4-H & FFA Livestock Show

WHEN: Jan. 9-11

WHERE: Burnet County Fair Grounds, 1301 Houston Clinton Drive in Burnet

SCHEDULE:

Jan. 9

10 a.m.: Barn opens

11 a.m.-noon: Check-in for dairy, Angora and Boer goats

Noon-1 p.m.: Sift poultry

Noon-2 p.m.: Ag mechanics check-in

Noon-6 p.m.: Swine arrive in barn

1-2 p.m.: Weigh and sift market goats

1:30 p.m.: Grand opening

2 p.m.: Dairy goat show; followed by Angora goats (Ring A)

3 p.m.: Poultry show and showmanship (Ring B)

4 p.m.: Boer goat show (Ring A)

4 p.m.: Ag mechanics show

4:30 p.m.: Breeding swine in place

5:30-6 p.m.: Weigh and sift market lambs

6 p.m.: Market goats show

6-8 p.m.: Weigh and sift swine

6-8 p.m.: Weigh and sift rabbits

Jan. 10

8 a.m.: Breeding sheep show followed by market lamb show (Ring A)

8-10 a.m.: Rabbit show, showmanship (Ring B)

9-9:15 a.m.: Weigh and check in steers and heifers

Noon-5 p.m.: Market swine show followed by breeding swine (Ring A)

5-5:30 p.m.: Future Feeders

5:30 p.m.: Steer show followed by heifers (Ring A)

Jan. 11

7:30-8 a.m.: Check in Creative Meat & Bake Show

8:15-10:30 a.m.: Creative Meat & Bake Show

11 a.m.: Buyers lunch

12:30 p.m.: Opening Ceremony, special awards presentation

1 p.m.- Premium sale

IF YOU GO

WHAT: Llano County Junior Livestock Show

WHEN: Jan. 9-11

WHERE: Llano Community Center, 2249 RR 152 in Llano

SCHEDULE:

Jan.  9

6 p.m.: Deadline for swine, lambs and meat goats arrival

6 p.m.: Weigh-in for swine, lambs and meat goats

Jan. 10

8 a.m.: Swine show

Noon: Deadline for cattle arrival

1 p.m.: Lambs show, or following swine; meat goats to follow lambs

1:30 p.m.: Weigh-in for cattle

4 p.m.: Deadline for turkeys, broilers and rabbits arrival; weigh-in for rabbits

5 p.m.: Turkey show; followed by broilers; followed by rabbits

Jan. 11

8:30 a.m.: Cattle show

5 p.m.: Buyers Mixer (at Oestreich’s Rose, 809 W. Young St.)

6 p.m.: Premium Sale (at Oestreich’s Rose, 809 W. Young St.)