The Texoma Exposition and Livestock Show wrapped up the week with a live auction sale on Friday where over 200 entries were auctioned off.
TELS Vice President Drue Bynum said this year’s event saw a record turnout despite the weather. Bynum said the board of directors set a goal to raise $500,000 in hopes to beat the previous year’s total of $465,000. This year’s event raised $565,000.
“It has been record numbers of people coming out,” Bynum said. “The kids and families have been extremely happy. Everyone has been in good humor. Everyone has been real friends. We’re thankful it’s been a really good week.”
Bynum said there were several highlights he was especially proud of, including the Showing With Heart event that took place on Thursday where students with special needs got to be included in the activities.
“The Showing With Heart on Thursday was phenomenal,” Bynum said. “Our sponsors, volunteers, parents and kids were great. We as a board are very appreciative of what everybody has done.”
One thing that was new this year was the Argibotics Challenge that took place on Saturday and was organized by Grayson County 4H. Students used LEGO Mindstorm robotics kits to demonstrate real-world conditions a farmer might experience working in the field. The robots had to harvest a crop and deliver it to a specific place along a predetermined path while avoiding obstacles.
“We’re moving into a technical world,” Bynum said. “Anytime you can take advantage of blending agriculture with technology, it makes it more popular for kids and will help inspire them to get involved in our 4H and FFA programs.”
Grayson County 4H Agent Tamra said the students only had roughly 90 minutes to fine tune their pre-assembled robots before turning them loose for the challenge.
“The purpose is a simulation to represent what a farmer would do on a farm,” McGaughy, who is coordinating the event, said. “They will start learning how to increase production while having less impact on the environment using technology.”
McGaughy has been coordinating these types of challenges at the Texas State Fair in recent years and said she felt the Texoma students were ready to take on the challenge.
The livestock show can be a multi-generational family tradition for a lot of participants, and that was certainly the case for Aimsley Campbell, an eighth grader from Bells FFA who was showing chickens and heifers. She got Reserve Champion in Market Broilers, a weight class, for her chickens. She was one of just five showing chickens this year.
“I like working with my animals, I like winning, everything about it,” Aimsley Campbell said. “You have to feed them a lot, water them and put special stuff in their food.”
It was her first year showing chickens, but she said she has been showing heifers since she was 7. She raised the chickens from 20 grams to nine pounds over the course of the six weeks she had them before the show.
Her father, Rodney Campbell, said it was a family tradition. He showed animals when he was a child and his parents before him did the same. Rodney Campbell said it makes a parent proud to see their offspring work so hard at something.
“I love the dedication and commitment they put into it,” Rodney Campbell, whose 10-year-old son was also showing animals this year, said. “The hard work, getting up early in the morning to staying up late, it’s all part of a good work ethic.”
Bynum said there were a total of 273 exhibitors with a total of 500 entries, including arts and crafts, livestock and ag mechanics projects. He said there were 90 pigs, 27 lambs, 45 steers, 45 goats, eight ag mechanic projects, five entries of broiler chickens and five entries of meat rabbits. He said the rabbits and chickens were counted as a single entry even if they had multiple animals.
“We have had one of the smoothest running shows we’ve experienced in quite a while,” Bynum said. “Things seemed to be well organized. Information got disseminated well. All the shows went great. We had some of the best judges in the nation judge our livestock. We had a record number of buyers at the luncheon. We had great support from our sponsors this year.”