Dedication and hard work go into raising any animal. For participants in this year’s junior livestock show, several months of planning and preparation went into raising animals for the event, which took place this past weekend.
Children from Carbon and Emery counties competed in the 75th Annual Southeastern Utah Junior Livestock Show. The popular event takes place each summer in Ferron. The four-day event allows participants to show their animals, showmanship skills and passion for the livestock they raise. The show also allows the youth to prove hard work pays off.
Each animal is available for purchase at the end of competition. Companies and individuals can bid and some participants gather sponsors to purchase the animals. Each participant earns a portion of the funds from selling their entry.
For Ferron residents, Kaylee, Kameron and Kammi Swasey, the hard work began in January. Each child decided to raise a lamb and steer for this year’s show. Living on a large farm allowed the children space to raise each animal with plenty of room to grow.
After the young farmers chose their livestock, each animal was raised with special feed, love and care. Lambs were fed a special diet of grain and hay. The Swasey children spent countless hours with each lamb. Grooming and training were performed daily to prepare the animals for show. Two days prior to the event, each lamb was sheered and readied for the event.
The Swasey kids also spent countless hours with their steers. Also raised on special feed and groomed daily, the steers were taught to be led around an arena and to obey simple commands given by each child.
Because so much time is spent with each animal, it becomes a close friend to each youngster. According to Kameron, his steer Toothless has become a pet, not just a steer for the livestock show.
“Toothless lets me do anything to him,” explained Kameron. “One time I was trying to get him to move and he let me lay on top of his back. He didn’t care.”
Kammi’s steer, Steak, obeys her commands and reigns across the arena effortlessly. Standing in mud up to her ankles, Kammi tapped on Steak’s leg with a training pole and the steer quickly moved his leg appropriately. The pair was clearly ready for the junior livestock show.
Also preparing for the event, Kaylee led her steer Romeo out of his coral and into an open area on the Swasey farm. Romeo followed Kaylee’s every lead and was groomed and ready for the event.
Once the Swasey kids made it to the livestock show, they all performed quite well. Kaylee got blue ribbons for both her steer and lamb. She also took third place in record book and Best of Emery County with her lamb. Kammi received a blue ribbon for her lamb and a red ribbon for her steer while Kameron took home a blue ribbon for his lamb and a red ribbon for his steer. Overall, the Swaseys had a successful showing at this year’s show.
In Carbon County, children have also been preparing for the annual livestock show. Dylan Barker has been raising two Hampshire Barrow pigs named Spot and Star. This is Barker’s ninth year showing at the stock show. He has claimed Best Hog for Carbon County for seven of the nine years.
Barker also showed a Hampshire lamb at this year’s event. This was the first time that he entered a lamb in the competition. Barker sold his lamb but was unable to compete with his pig, which did not meet the weight requirement. He will continue to fatten up the pig and enter the Utah State Fair in September.
Easton and Mollie Horsley entered a pig in the last weekend’s show. Having raised the animal since May, the Horsley siblings managed to plump up the pig to 300 pounds. Feeding, grooming and training were performed by each child. This was Mollie’s first time entering the show and Easton’s second.
Mollie was quite nervous the first day of the stockshow but she led the pig into the arena. Her confidence then started to grow. The following day, she took to the arena like a pro. The Horsley pig was purchased for the anticipated price and both kids were excited with the outcome.
The experience gained by each livestock show competitor is far more valuable than the money raised. Most of the youngsters who compete regularly move on to become farmers. More importantly, the children learn life skills which they will carry with them for their entire lives.