04/08/12 — Families prepare for annual livestock show and sale

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Families prepare for annual livestock show and sale

By Steve Herring
Published in News on April 8, 2012 1:50 AM

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Evan Thomas practices with the pigs at the Bryant Worley Farm in preparation for this week's Junior Livestock Show.

They have names like Thomas, named after Thomas the Train, Conifer, and Greeny Norris, named after a favorite color.

And next week these pigs, which belong to the Bryant Worley family of the Princeton community, will be competing for top hog honors during the 64th annual Wayne County Junior Livestock Show and Sale.

The annual event, sponsored by the Wayne County Livestock Development Corp. and Wayne County Cooperative Extension Service, will be held Wednesday and Thursday at the Wayne Regional Fairgrounds on U.S. 117 South.

For the Worleys, the show is a tradition that spans three generations.

Bryant Worley was in the eighth or ninth grade when he first showed animals. His daughters, Brooke Norris and Carmen Thomas, participated, and now his grandchildren compete in the show.

"Sometimes (the pig) gets the itches and doesn't do what I say sometimes," said Tyler Norris, 6.

It is the first year that Tyler's cousin, Oliver Thomas, 5, is participating in the show.

"I like it whenever (Conifer) kind of shakes his head," he said. "He likes to shake his head a lot."

Worley, who participated for about six years as a youth, showed hogs and steers including a grand champion.

"There used to be an announcer's stand out (at the fairgrounds) where they have the rodeos at now," Worley said. "I had two steers that I raised, and they had always been together, but when I got down there it turned out they were in separate weight classes. I got a friend of mine to hold one of them while I took the other one in and showed him.

"It was the first time they had been separated. That one outside went wild. He was going to find his pen mate. He got away from that boy I had asked to hold it for me. The steer had gotten away from him, and it was in the announcer's stand."

Worley said he is amazed at the difference in the style of the animals being shown today compared to the ones he showed.

"What won the grand champions then were short, compact and low to the ground and just really fat," he said. "But today's beef market wants you to have lean beef, so the cows that win shows now are real tall and lean-looking. The consumer wants a different product."

Worley and his daughters agree the show is a way to instill an appreciation of livestock production in youths.

"Speaking as an adult it is different than it was at the time I was doing it," Worley said. "At the time, it was always an excuse to get out school. We missed two days of school. But I always enjoyed the camaraderie and the competition. To this day, I see guys that I never saw much unless it was at a livestock show. It was kind of like a high school basketball game. There was a little rivalry going on there."

Brooke Norris, 34, started with a pig at age 5 and showed until she was about 13. Carmen Thomas, 32, showed animals for about the same length of time.

Mrs. Norris started with pigs and lambs and later steers.

"It was a way for us to save money for college," Mrs. Norris said. "We understood animals were being sold and that money was put into an educational fund.

"I loved animals. I thought for along time that I wanted to be a veterinarian, so I enjoyed that aspect of caring for the animals and spending that time with them.

Her twin sons, Tyler and Kyle, and daughter, Olivia, 5, are participating in this year's show.

"They enjoy talking to their class about their pigs," she said. "It was a very special thing with the boys last year walking their pigs into the ring, just watching them try to keep their eye on the judge and do all of the things you try to teach them to do. It just gave me a different idea of what my parents experienced while I was doing the same thing. It has been wonderful."

Mrs. Thomas said she started off with lambs and later steers in the show, winning grand champion,

"It is a great learning experience and that is why we wanted our kids involved," she said. "You learn how to work together. There is sense of pride in taking care of things. The kids have enjoyed it."

The show is open to any boy or girl living in the county or participating in Wayne County 4-H or FFA who are between the ages of 5 to 19 as of Jan. 1. They may show animals in three areas, market hog, feeder calf and meat goat.

Animals will be weighed in between 8 and 11 a.m. on April 11. The Junior Meat Show will be held at 6 p.m. and the Junior Feeder Calf Show at 8 p.m.

Thursday's schedule includes Junior Market Hog Show, 9 a.m.; costume contest, 5:30 p.m.; city slicker contest, 6 p.m.; awards presentation, 7 p.m.; and sale of calves, hogs and goats, 7:30 p.m.

"It (show) really teaches them responsibility," said Eileen Coite, Wayne County Cooperative Extension agent for agriculture, livestock and forages. "It is an animal they are responsible for looking after providing that feed, water and shelter. I think they learn that animal is not going to do everything perfect if they don't spend time with it."

It is a popular event and there are several families that have been involved for two and even three generations, she said.

The sale can be very confusing for someone who wants to help the youths out and maybe buy an animal, she said.

"When you buy an animal, you don't really go home with an animal," she said. "Basically you are sponsoring a child. All of the animals end up going on the truck and they are marketed together."

The sponsorships go through the Wayne County Livestock Development Association. All of the money that goes into the association account for the children comes right back out for them, she said.

It is up to the family as to how the money is used. However, "99 percent" of the time it is used for a college fund, Ms. Coite said.

For more information contact the Wayne County Cooperative Extension office at 919-731-1520 or Wayne Regional Fairgrounds at 919-735-7277.