About 200 young exhibitors will show off their livestock and agriculture mechanics projects during the 54th annual Burnet County Livestock Show on Thursday-Saturday, Jan. 7-9, at the Burnet County Fair and Rodeo Grounds, 1301 Houston Clinton Drive in Burnet. Admission is free.
COVID-19 protocols, including face coverings for exhibitors and the public, are in place. Organizers ask that people screen for symptoms of the disease before attending.
“We’re following the protocols and things businesses around the area are following, too,” show chairman Brandon Evans said. “We’re super appreciative of our county leaders for letting us go on with this event.”
The show begins Thursday with behind-the-scenes activities, including project check-in and organization. At 2 p.m. is the agriculture mechanics show. Rabbits and dairy goats will be shown at 3 p.m. in rings A and B followed by Angora goats, Boer goats, and breeding sheep.
But Friday will be the best day for spectators.
“Friday is kind of the big day,” Evans said. “You can show up at any part and see something going on.”
On that day, market goats will be shown at 8 a.m. followed by market lambs. From noon to 5 p.m. is the popular swine show with market followed by breeding. The steer show starts at 5:30 p.m. followed by heifers.
The big event, the premium sale, is 1 p.m. Saturday. “Buyers” are there to support the youths.
“It’s not a typical sale where the buyer would receive the animal, or project in case of the ag mechanics,” Evans explained. “You’re giving to help the student recoup the cost of taking care of the animal or materials for the ag mechanics project. They keep the project.
“Ultimately,” he added, “you’re making a donation to the kids.”
Businesses, organizations, and individuals are welcome to participate in the premium sale. Those interested can attend the buyers lunch at 11 a.m. Saturday for more information.
The Burnet County show is often the opening event for livestock show season, which features major contests such as the San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo, the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo, the Houston Stock Show and Rodeo, and Rodeo Austin. While many youths only participate in the local show, some head to others across the state.
Evans said his two kids will show about 12 animals during the Burnet County Livestock Show (participants generally enter one in the premium sale), but they have about 20 more animals at home in preparation for other shows.
This year is challenging for those continuing to show beyond Burnet County, Evans pointed out. While several major shows are still on, a few have canceled due to COVID-19, including the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo.
But the youths and their families must prepare as if the major shows are still happening, which means feeding and caring for livestock with no guarantee of a sale to recoup expenses.
“I think that makes our county sale even more important because it may be the only one they get,” Evans said.
However, livestock shows offer more than financial benefits. Evans, who participated in shows as a kid, pointed out that young people also learn important life lessons.
“I look back at what livestock shows did for me, and it’s really about the lessons I learned that made some of the biggest differences in my life,” he added, which is why he continues to volunteer on the livestock board. “I just want to give back to something that was so important to me growing up.”