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Livestock show participants brace for potential icy weekend weather

Four junior livestock shows get under way in Burnet, Lampasas, Llano and Mason counties Jan. 8 despite the potential for below-freezing temperatures and sleet predicted by the National Weather Service through the weekend. Llano County Junior Livestock Show participant Juna Glasscock, a Llano Junior High School student, preps a show lamb with a body blanket Jan. 8  at the John L. Kuykendall Arena and Events Center, 2200 RR 152 in Llano. Photo courtesy of Llano County Agrilife Extension Service

CONNIE SWINNEY • PICAYUNE STAFF

MASON — Sub-freezing temperatures and the potential for sleet have prompted junior livestock show participants to take extra precautions in preparations and travel plans.

The National Weather Service predicts the possibility of freezing rain Jan. 9-11 with highs from 35-45 degrees and possible lows dipping to 29 overnight.

The cold snap is expected as early as the morning of Jan. 9.

READ: Arctic blast may bring sleet, ice to Highland Lakes

READ: It’s youth livestock show time in Burnet, Llano counties

Despite the icy weather warning, several area youth livestock shows are scheduled to continue.

“There are four stock shows going on right now. One here in Mason and in Llano, Burnet and Lampasas,” said Wade Hibler, a classification and show judge, working in Llano and Mason during the wintery weekend. “A stock show is a stock show. When it’s scheduled, it goes. It would take a pretty tremendous ice storm to shut it down. It would have to be one where absolutely no one could get there.”

The conditions have heightened awareness and the level of livestock care among participants.

“These sheep and goats, we slick sheer them, and when we take all the hair off them, they have no protection. Any time you’re in cold weather like that, any type of grooming activity is going to require blankets.,” Hibler said. “Water freezing is another problem, and then transportation, being safe in getting there.

“In this kind of weather, the animals will get sick just like the humans do, so you got to take precautions using antibiotics according to label,” he added. “You’ve got to work with your local veterinarian on many cases.”

Participants wasted no time preparing their entries Jan. 8 in anticipation of the premium sales Jan. 10.

“I’m wearing three pair of pants. I just have to layer up,” Marble Falls High School senior Lacey Naumann said. “I personally like the cold weather, not necessarily cold and rainy. I have turkeys, and they’re used to 98-degree weather, so they have the red heat lamps to keep them warm. I have breeding heifers, and they have a thick coat of hair, so we don’t have to do anything different but just make sure they have lots of bedding. But washing them in the morning will be awfully cold for us.”

Hibler said it takes a certain breed of youth to participate in stock shows.

“You’ve got to be dedicated to it,” he said. “There is no backing out, no second guessing yourself. You’ve got to go and participate, and we encourage them to be safe in doing so.”

For online updates on changing weather conditions, go to www.weather.gov.

connie@thepicayune.com