Hundreds of small curly tails are at the South Plains Fair Grounds. It is part of the annual Lubbock County Junior Live Stock Show. Since Thursday, hundreds of kids have shown lambs, goats and steers. On Saturday, hogs walked the ring on the last day of the show, and they are proving to be some of life's best teachers.
It's still at least an hour away from show time, but 10th grader Matt Harney is already preparing for the judges.
"I'm going to clean his ear off a little bit," Harney said.
His partner is Henizi. Last weekend the dynamic duo won a blue ribbon at the Frenship FFA show. But on Saturday, they face countywide competition, with more than 600 hogs in several different classes. To get ready for Henizi's strut in the ring, Harney says takes months of work.
"After school I gotta take him out. We have a walking ring we walk him around for about 30 minutes to an hour every day," Harney said.
To win another blue ribbon Harney says a couple things need to happen. He needs to have enough food, kept warm and most importantly cleaned.
"I'll spray water just before he goes in the ring," Harney said.
"You'll have kids that come here and just want to show their first time and not go on to a major stock show this is the end of the line for their project. Then you'll have some that want to get their animal out around a lot of people," County Extension Agent Robert Scott said. "Then later they'll take them to a major stock show," Scott added.
Scott says top placement at this show can translate into big dollars come sale day.
"They use that money for next year to start over," Scott said.
But it's not just about the dollars.
"It's my first year and I showed three times and those are my ribbons," says Kennedy Caldwell. More than just ribbons, all the brushing, cleaning and feeding is teaching those like third grader Kennedy Caldwell some life lessons. Lessons that Harney says he'll use for years to come.
"A lot of respect and leadership and taking care of him and showing good showmanship," Harney said.
All are invited to the premium sale in the Merchants Building at the fair grounds on Monday evening. The buyer's meal begins at 5 p.m., followed by bidding at 6 p.m. All those who bid, donate money to the kids who get to keep their animals.
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