Isaac Linton, 13, was admittedly nervous as the minutes ticked down to when he would show his goat at the annual Wayne County Junior Livestock Show and Sale at the fairgrounds Wednesday night.
It didn't matter that he's been in 4-H and shown animals for eight years.
"Whenever I go in the ring I normally calm down after that," he said.
He and younger brother, Gideon, 11, competed this year. Their sister, Marisa Linton, at 24 has aged out of the competition but passed along "everything I could" to her siblings.
"They're showing pigs and goats today," she said. "We worked, all of us together -- walking them, grooming them. This year I let them shave their goats completely by themselves. In the past I have done touchups."
Jessica Davis, adviser for the FFA, or Future Farmers of America at Southern Wayne High School, brought four students to participate in the first night of competition.
They have had since January to take care of the animals and prepare, she said.
"We have an animal facility at our school," she said. "Students go out there every day and walk them, feed them, practice showing them."
They had a little help this year from University of Mount Olive student Erica Willing. The third-year student's family also has a breeding farm in Maryland, which provided the animals.
This marked the first time 16-year-old Meagan Lee, a sophomore, had competed. The aspiring veterinarian said she learned much from Willing's mentoring.
"She taught us different things, like the way you have to show yourself to the judge," she said. "It taught me to be a little more confident and to stand in a way like I know what I'm talking about."
Daniel Dunn of Grantham, 16, has been participating in shows since he was 5. This year his entry was a beef show steer.
"He started out showing goats, he's done pigs, turkeys, chickens and heifers," said his mom, Angie Dunn, explaining that her son rises every morning to take care of his animal and chores on the family farm, before going to school.
"It teaches me responsibility, that I have something to care for and I have to feed it," he said.
This marked the 70th year for the show and sale, sponsored by the Wayne County Livestock Development Association and N.C. Cooperative Extension Service.
The event continues today with the market hog show at 10 a.m. and awards presentation at 7 p.m. followed by the sale at 7:30 p.m.