The show will go on. It will just look a little different.
Hill Country District Junior Livestock Show officials want the public to know that while the 77th Annual Hill Country District Livestock Show was cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions, local 4-H and FFA students will still be participating in a planned show schedule that began this weekend with school district shows and will culminate in the annual Kerr County Show competition, beginning Jan. 16.
In addition, these students will be rewarded for their year of hard work at a Premium Sale, scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 23.
“What we’ve done is try to make sure nothing else was taken away from these kids,” HCDJLSA President Steve Bauer said. “The only difference to this year’s show is the district part. Those 33 surrounding counties will not be here, but we are going to take care of our Kerr County kids.”
All Kerr County Shows are still happening to include Ag Mechanics, Breeding Sheep, Steers, Heifers, Market Lambs, Meat Goats, Market Swine, and Breeding Gilts, Bauer said.
Bauer said that all of the stock participants registered for the Kerr County Show will be competing with their animals as planned. Only these local resident students will be featured in the annual sale auction.
“We are asking our buyers to come on out,” Bauer said. “We have safety measures in place. We will be livestreaming the competition and the auction.”
Bauer said in order to promote safety, guests inside the show barns and auction will be limited.
“Only the exhibitor and two parents will be allowed in the show barns,” Bauer said. “At the auction, we will use the entire exhibit hall to allow for more social distancing and only two people will be allowed per buyer number. No other spectators will be allowed inside during the sale.”
In addition, Bauer said, county show competitions will be livestreamed as they happen. Friends, loved ones and supporters of the stock show participants can view the livestream by logging onto the HCDJLSA website at www.hcdjls.org.
“We have Aaron Yates and his crews livestreaming the competition for us,” Bauer said. “We will also livestream on the day of the sale.”
Buyers and online spectators will notice a difference in the sale portion of the event, Bauer said, as no animals will be on stage with the participants.
“After the county show, the exhibitors will take their animals home and on the day of the sale, it will be just the student on stage,” Bauer said. “It is known as a Premium Sale. What we are selling on that day is the kids hard work and commitment to the project.”
According to Bauer, HCDJLSA officials are working diligently on providing online and phone bank options for online spectators to also participate in bidding and buying during the sale.
“Some people may want to buy an animal or just add on to a student’s animal,” Bauer said. “We are working hard on making that available on the day of the sale. More information will be given on these options when we finalize everything.”
Bauer said he is touched by the support he has seen so far from local buyers.
“We have gotten commitments from the majority of our local buyers so far,” Bauer said. “We understood that we would lose some of the district buyers.”
Although the HCDJLSA has seen support so far, Bauer said it is going to require added community support to make the sale a success for Kerr County participants.
“So much has been taken away from these kids. That’s why the (HCDJLSA) board, after being denied our application, chose to try to give these kids the opportunity to finish the project that they started, some of them 12 months ago, and get their paycheck,” Bauer said. “We feel like pushing through with the county show will allow out kids to experience some sort of normality … some kind of hope.”
Bauer is asking local individuals and businesses to sign up as a “buyer” for the Premium Sale scheduled for Jan. 23. For more information on becoming a buyer, contact Bauer 739-0544, Bob Reeves at 739-5666, Trey Dittmar at 353-1304 or Jeff Talarico at 459-6525.
Bauer commended his board members for their determination and dedication to the local students participating in stock show events.
“These kids are our future. They are leaders,” Reeves said. “Our board recognizes the character the 4-H and FFA builds in our students and the importance this show is in preparing our youth for their roles in society. The process of taking an animal, learning how to take care of it, feed it, keep it healthy, showing up sometimes as much as three times a day at the barn to feed, learning how to groom the animal and fit it … the sportsmanship and camaraderie inside those show rings … all of that builds the character that we want in our community and in our future leaders.”
HCDJLSA Past President Bob Reeves has been impressed with the tenacity of the board and the understanding of the students.
“When you consider what our country, state and county have encountered the past 10 months it is so very important to recognize our leaders of tomorrow for their hard work,” Reeves said.