The mission of the State Fair is to celebrate Texas and that means promoting agriculture. Nothing does that better than the shows and contests that attract youth from all over Texas.
These kids bring their livestock and their talents, and they are thrilled to be back this year.
"I am extremely excited about this State Fair as it's my senior year. It's my last hurrah and so I'm very excited about seeing what the State Fair has to offer, all the competition I'm going to be experiencing and just the feel of the State Fair," said Katie Hughes, a senior at Royse City High School. "I'll be showing my market steer, my prospect steer, competing in livestock judging, public speaking, livestock judging, swine skillathon and beef skillathon. So, I have a full schedule at the State Fair."
"We normally have about 15,000 kids and entries at the fair and we're sitting just a little bit above that this year which is really exciting," said Daryl Real, Sr. Vice President for Agriculture and Livestock at the fair. "Coming back from 2019 back into 2021 with the hiatus in the middle, to actually be up in terms of contest entries is really exciting for us."
Hughes, 18, has competed since she was in the third grade and doing at the State Fair is special.
"The main reason I compete at the State Fair is because it challenges me in how I'm progressing with my animals, how I'm progressing with my skills. It also helps me have opportunities such as scholarships and meeting new people at the fair," she said.
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And with her animals, mainly steer and swine, and the performance contests, Hughes has found her purpose.
"I live and breathe agriculture. My friends and I, we talk about how, Katie, you're always at the barn or you're always studying, and yeah, it's what I love. I'm passionate about it. My family's done it for years. It's something I've grown up around. It's helped develop me as a person, my character, what I'm gonna do with my life, who I am, why I''m getting out of bed every morning."