Showing animals key to kids’ growth

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LOVINGTON, N.M. – The conveniences of modern technology are amazing.

Many can take better photos with their cell phones than they can with expensive cameras. Phones are used for social media and video games. Oftentimes there’s a disconnect from the “real world” that only time away from electronics can repair, especially for youngsters.

Lea County Fair LogoThat’s why so many people take time out of their daily lives to help prepare young people for the real world by engaging with them on a personal level. Programs are in place to help children mature. In southeastern New Mexico, there may be no better opportunity for kids than being part of the livestock shows at the Lea County Fair and Rodeo.

The nine-day exposition will run Friday, Aug. 5-Saturday, Aug. 13, at the fairgrounds in Lovington and will feature hundreds of children showing more than animals – they also will showcase their hard work, independence and passion for all to see.

“I believe the livestock shows are what the fair’s all about,” said Corey Helton, chairman of the Lea County Fair Board.

Children work all year with their animals, from acquiring it to raising it to grooming it and preparing it for the trip to town in August. For many on the family farm or ranch, it’s just another extension of the lives they lead. For youth that live in town, preparing animals for the shows might be the perfect way to understand what generations have done before them.

Oftentimes, the boys and girls that are part of the livestock shows are just the next generation of family members that have done it. There’s a special bond that occurs.

Possibly the most celebrated aspect of the shows is the Junior Livestock Auction, where sponsors and donors bid to purchase the animals. It’s the children’s reward for the labor and time they’ve put in to raising their animals.

“I think we’re going to see a good representation from sponsors and buyers at the sale,” Helton said. “The sale is a big thing about the fair. Yes, we’ve had the concerts and the carnival and all the other activities. But without the kids showing animals, do you really even have a fair?”

That theory is why the Lea County Fair and Rodeo’s livestock shows continue to be a vital part of the annual expo.

“I think we all know that fairs were actually started for the kids and showcasing the kids’ hard work throughout the year,” Helton said. “We can’t lose sight of that.

“The goal of every fair should be the kids.”


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