The Gonzales County Youth Show is back for its 69th year of providing opportunities to county youth to earn thousands of dollars in scholarship money, in addition to valuable lessons about life and hard work since 1955.
The show will be held this year from March 2-4 at the JB Wells Expo Center, 2301 CR 197, Gonzales. It is sponsored by the Gonzales County Youth Show Association, a nonprofit organization with the “overarching goal of encouraging agricultural pursuits through education and the organization of our livestock show, held each year over the first weekend in March,” said Erin Lindemann-LaBuhn, director of special programs for Gonzales ISD and president of the GCSYA board of directors.
“This year, over 140 exhibitors will participate in one or more of the 15 project areas that include multiple animal projects, a bake show, and an agricultural mechanics show,” Lindemann-LaBuhn said. “Show weekend provides the opportunity for kids in our community to showcase projects that they have spent time with for anywhere from eight weeks to over a calendar year.”
Lindemann-LaBuhn said the Gonzales community is especially vital to the success of the show year in and year out.
“During the last two shows, our community has come together to provide over $700,000 each year back to these hard-working kids,” she said. “ And, while the return in investment for our kids is definitely a success, looking out into the crowd over the three days of the stock show at the hundreds of community members who show up to help and to watch and to serve is truly what means the most to our exhibitors.”
In addition to serving as president of the show association, Lindemann-LaBuhn has familial ties to the show that run deep.
“As a proud mom and aunt to stock show kids myself, I am humbled to be able to serve on the board that facilitates a program that facilitates the growth of so many vital character traits such as work ethic, responsibility, empathy, cooperation, and sportsmanship,” she said.
Those traits can be found in kids like Teresa Cunningham, a nine-year-old member of the Green Clover 4-H and fourth grader at North Avenue Intermediate, who will be showing her beloved goat, Finn, at the show this year.
“This is her first year showing goats and third year participating in the Gonzales County Youth Livestock Show,” said her mother, Melissa Cunningham. “She started off in the bucket calf program.
“She must wake up every morning before school and tend to her goats and again in the evening. It doesn’t matter the temperature outside; the goats still need to be cared for.”
In order to take part in the county show, an exhibitor must be a FFA or 4-H member in Gonzales County as of 5 p.m. Nov. 1, 2022. The exhibitor also must have a homestead in Gonzales County or attend a school in Gonzales County at the time of club registration and the animals must be housed in Gonzales County unless permission is otherwise granted. An exhibitor must also be enrolled in school and passing all subjects as of the most recent completed grading period and he or she may show in only one community/local/county show during the year.
Categories include steers, breeding heifers, market swine (barrow and gilts), breeding swine (gilts), market lambs (wethers and ewes), breeding lambs (ewes), market goats (wethers and does), breeding goats (does), market rabbits (pen of three), breeding rabbits (does), market broilers (pen of three), bucket calves, baked goods and ag mechanics.
Exhibitors can also compete for showmanship and are called back to the arena to compete at the end of the market or breeder show in each division. There are four levels of showmanship based on grade level:
• PeeWee Showmanship is for those younger than third grade and includes lambs, goats, pigs and cattle.
• Junior Showmanship is for those enrolled in third through fifth grade and covers all market and breeding divisions.
• Intermediate Showmanship is for those enrolled in sixth grade through eighth grade and covers all market and breeding divisions.
• Senior Showmanship is for those enrolled in ninth grade through 12th grade and covers all market and breeding divisions.