By Lynette George

By Lynette George

Herald Democrat

Education of local youths, both in and out of the classroom, has always been the top priority for the organizers of the annual Texoma Exposition & Livestock Show. To better meet those needs, the dates of this year’s show, held at Loy Lake Park in Denison, have been changed to March 3 through 7.

The popular competition showcases the agricultural, mechanical and artistic talents of hundreds of Grayson County students. It was traditionally held the first week of April. However, the timing of the show and that of the state’s STAAR testing, slated for the second week in April, brought about the change.

"Nearly all of the school districts had concerns about state testing days, so that was primarily the consideration in making the change," says Paul Bailey, president of the Texoma Exposition & Livestock Show. "If it really did conflict with the kids being out of school with the extra curricular things with their animals, we as a board didn’t want that, so the show dates were changed … We hope it’s a positive thing."

John McCullough, FFA advisor and instructor with the Pottsboro Independent School District, says the April show dates and the state testing dates did cause difficulties for the students. He sees the move to the first week in March as advantageous to the students in several ways.

"The change was brought about due to the timing interfering with STARR testing. It became such a challenge for kids to be out prior to the testing. The schools of Grayson County felt so strongly about it (the Texoma Exposition & Livestock Show) being moved back so the kids would be in school the week before testing. The ag teachers agreed," says McCullough. "Not only was it important to our students to be in school, it also opened up the opportunity for our kids to not only show at the local level, but to then go on and compete on a state level with the same project. It has been a disadvantage to kids in the past with the county show running so late. Most animal species - lamb, goat, pig - are terminal animals. Meaning if they go to a state-level show, they (the animals) will not come back home. This presented a financial hardship for most kids to be able to participate and gain the experience of competing in a state-wide show. Now, our kids have the opportunity to show on the local level and then go on to participate on a state level. It is a wonderful opportunity for our community to support the kids and be proud of what the kids in Grayson County can take to the next level."

With the show a month earlier, Texomaland’s unpredictable late winter and early spring weather could play a greater role in this year’s competition. However, rain, freezing temperatures, tornadic conditions and other unpleasant weather patterns have reared their ugly heads throughout the show’s long history without daunting the young competitors. This year will be no different.

"Obviously, the weather could be an issue," says Bailey. "We hope it’s sunny and 60 degrees. If it is, we’ll love it, but if it’s 35 degrees, we’ll just put on another coat. The show will go on!"

Though the schools, students and parents are aware of the date change, the general public may not be. Bailey says that the Livestock Show board has been working to let all past buyers in the show’s premium auction know of the new dates. He also encourages everyone to spread the word of the month-earlier date so that no one misses out on attending and supporting local agricultural youths. Buyers for the premium auction are not required to pre-register, but can do so if desired by contacting Bailey at 903-814-5021. Businesses or individuals wishing to advertise at the show or anyone needing information on vendor spaces, sponsorships, etc… can also contact Bailey.

The show activities are listed below, by day.


Monday, March 3: 8 a.m.-4 p.m., barrow weigh-in and classification; 10 a.m., lambs and goats admitted to show grounds; 6 p.m., lamb classification and weigh-in for lambs and goats; 10:30 p.m., lights out;

Tuesday, March 4: 8 a.m., all other animals and exhibits admitted to show grounds; 1 p.m., judging of market lambs and ag mechanic deadline for project placement in Mayor Arena; 4 p.m., judging of market goats; 6 p.m., all rabbits arrive; 8 p.m., heifers and market steers in place; 10:30 p.m., lights out;

Wednesday, March 5: 8 a.m., breeding poultry arrive; 9 a.m., judging of rabbits, weigh-in of market steers and checking of heifer papers; 1 p.m., judging of market barrows and judging of 4-H, FFA and FCCLA exhibits in the Creative Arts Building; 10:30 p.m., lights out;

Thursday, March 6: 8 a.m., release of all non-sale animals; 9 a.m., all broilers arrive; 10 a.m., poultry show and judging of ag mechanics projects; 1 p.m., judging of breeding beef; 4 p.m., auction of general exhibit items; 5:30 p.m., judging of market steers; 7 p.m., deadline to pick up items in Creative Arts Building; 10:30 p.m., lights out;

Friday, March 7: 8 a.m., livestock judging contest; 11 a.m., buyers’ luncheon and recognition of life members; noon, premium auction sale and ag mechanic projects released.