Thousands of kids across Texas go to the State Fair of Texas every year to compete in livestock shows. And they'll do it this year, too, with a revised schedule and events spread out over 10 days.
“There is a great deal of uncertainty out there, but we are excited to do what we do. Putting on a livestock show at the State Fair of Texas is something we do every year. We’re just having to do it in a very different manner,” said Daryl Real, State Fair Senior Vice President of Agriculture and Livestock.
“We have everybody scheduled out and spread out to make sure everybody stays safe, healthy while they're at the revised livestock show,” Real said.
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These kids who show their livestock invest, time, passion and energy in animals with hopes of walking away with the grand champion prize.
The Big Tex Youth Livestock Auction will happen on Friday, Oct. 2, and Real’s committee has been working nonstop to raise the $1.3 million it hopes to hand out in prize money.
And, that brings another change to the 2020 far. Most of the 2,700 competitors will get a cash award.
“They get to come compete. They're here just two days, then they go on home and we mail them a check afterward,” Real said.
“It’s not about the money. It's not about the win. It's about the love and care; the effort I put into it that pays off,” said Elizabeth Norwood, a Waxahachie teenager who will compete in her fourth State Fair.
She was disappointed when she learned the fair had been canceled but is now eager to be in the arena come October 1st to show her 1,200 pound Black Angus named Maximus.
“He’s nice, sweet, me and him bond really good,” the 7th grader said.
Norwood, 13, started showing steers as a fourth grader, following in her family’s footsteps.
“My dad did it when he was younger, and he thought it might be a great thing for me. So, we tried it out one year, and I fell in love with it,” she said. “I love the connection with me and the steers.”
She’s competed in county shows to bigger ones in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and Arizona. She won Lightweight American Breed Champion at State Fair of Texas 2018 with a steer named Junior. Her steer Olaf won the British Breed Champion at Arizona National 2019.
Now Norwood is eager to see what the judges will think of Maximus.
“My goal is to get breed champion again but also grand champion,” she smiled. “I’ve never gotten Grand Champion before at a market show, so that would be like a miracle.”
In addition to the livestock market show, the state fair will also host virtual contests for the agri-science fair, public speaking and job interview competitions.