Kids And Their Animals Take Center Stage At 66th Annual Junior Livestock Show And Sale

Pittsylvania Co., VA - Kids from all over the Dan River region flocked to Chatham today for a show unlike any other in Southside.We're talking about the Pittsylvania - Caswell Junior Livestock Show - a day full of cows, pigs and plenty of farm favorites. Exhibitors as young as six-years-old have prepared goats, lambs and larger livestock to compete. Just the prep work itself can be very hectic."Commotion creates excitement, I think! " said Extension Agent Jamie Stowe. Participants are members of 4-H and Future Farmers of America clubs across the areas. The show is divided into categories - including Showmanship, breeding animals and market-ready animals.Judges are looking for animals and handlers that had the whole package."I guess I would say I'm a tougher judge. I do expect certain characteristics and certain things from the kids, " said judge Andy Burlingham. For many repeat participants, the experience has become more about honing their craft than winning."It teaches you a lot of responsibility. A lot of trust in your teaches you to really know your animal. Everybody is friends here. It is just fun, " said exhibitor Jamie Hodnett.She and her boyfriend Eli have been showing their animals at the competition for several years.As high school seniors, both will be eligible for scholarships during the event's annual dinner. Hodnett says her lamb didn't really have his head in the game this year, but she is thankful for the experience."You just learn that animals are animals. You can't control what they do. It's about how you present yourself, " Hodnett said.Win or lose, Stowe says she wants each young person to walk away with an appreciation for livestock producers."If they will grow into life-long supporters of agriculture, then I think we will have accomplished our goal, " said Stowe.Most of the animals will be up for sale during an auction. Saturday, the event will finish up with their very first diary show - featuring a Cow Parade where the kids and their cows will dress up like a variety of characters.