Announcing the new Carter County Junior Livestock Show Youth Ambassadors

Drew Butler
The Daily Ardmoreite
The 2021-2022 Carter County Junior Livestock Show Youth Ambassadors. Back Row: Barrett Allen, Delaney Patty, Lexi Henderson, Danielle Brooks, Bryson Reeves. Front Row:Piper Dudley, Emma Moore, Presley Tivis, Rile Garrison,  Macy Shelton.

The agriculture industry is especially important in Oklahoma, and the students of today will one day be the leaders of the industry. To help bridge the gap, every year a new group of area students volunteer to be the Carter County Junior Livestock Show Youth Ambassadors. 

The Carter County Junior Livestock show is held every March at the Hardy Murphy Coliseum, and these high school students in many ways become the face of the show. They speak with the donors, promote the show to various community organizations and star in a video show every year at the event's largest fundraiser, the Boots and Bowties Ball.

They come from schools across the county, and include students from Dickson, Lone Grove, Fox, Plainview and Wilson. 

CCJLS Ambassador Team Director Linda Baughman explained the process of becoming an ambassador.

"They have an application they have to fill out, and once they have turned that in, I speak with their ag teachers to make sure they are someone who is worthy of this recognition," she said. "I look into their background and their history of showing to make sure they are a good representation of their school because we want to be sure they will be a good representation for our county."

The 2021-2022 Carter County Junior Livestock Show Youth Ambassadors. From left to right: Barrett Allen, Delaney Patty, Piper Dudley, Emma Moore, Riley Garrison, Macy Shelton, Lexi Henderson, Danielle Brooks, Presley Tivis, Bryson Reeves.

Plainview High School Student Emma Moore said being part of such a group is especially beneficial to her because Plainview does not have an ag program.

"Plainview doesn't have an FFA or 4-H, so as of right now I'm the only one at the high school who shows," she said. "So for me, it's great to get to see what they do. After getting close with some of them, I'll be speaking to the school board next week about bringing FFA to Plainview."

In addition to getting to meet new teens in the area who share their interests, showing animals has allowed these students to make friends across the country as Dickson High School student Barrett Allen explained.

"Some of my best friends I've met through showing," he said. "Two of my really good friends, one lives in Georgia and one lives in Nebraska. We only get to see each other a couple times a year, but we talk almost every day."

Just as they all go to different schools, the students who show also raise and whoe different types of animals including pigs, sheep, goats and cattle. When asked which one was the most difficult to show, everyone laughed because that can be a somewhat contentious topic. They did all agree that each animal comes with its own set of challenges and show cycle. 

Those who show cattle typically begin by purchasing their animals in the spring, work with them through the summer, and begin showing in September through April. Pigs are usually purchased in October, and students are typically finished showing them by the middle of March. Goats and sheep fall in the middle.

Baughman said it often depends on the personality of the individual animal.

"Sometimes they're more spirited and stubborn, and sometimes they're more kind and gentle," she said. "But a lot of times, for whatever reason, the animals that give them the most trouble end up doing the best in the ring because they (the animals) like to show off."