Carter County Junior Livestock Show set for this week
Every year students from across the Carter County spend countless hours feeding, caring for, and raising animals. During the best of times, this requires discipline and commitment, but this year has been especially challenging. Despite two pandemics — one affecting people, and another affecting pigs — and recent extreme weather, the students have persevered and their animals are now ready to show. Later this week, these students will come together to show off all of their hard work at the Cater County Junior Livestock Show.
The show, which is free and open to the public, will be held at the Hardy Murphy Coliseum beginning Wednesday at noon with hogs and will continue on Thursday at noon with the sheep show to be followed by the goat show. The cattle show will begin at 5 p.m. that evening. Students in grades 3 through 12 will be participating in the show, and those students whose animals represent the very best will be named the grand champions.
While putting on the show takes the cooperation of both adults and youth alike, one special group who help bring the show to life are the Carter County Junior Livestock Show Youth Ambassadors. The ambassadors are high school students from several schools in Carter County that act as a sort of liaison between adults and the younger students. They spend the year helping to promote and bring the show together, and also act as helpers during the show itself along with showing their own animals.
Youth Ambassador Lexi Henderson, a junior at Lone Grove, said everyone at this year’s show will be required to wear a mask. This includes the students themselves as they are showing their animals, which can be a challenge.
“I show cattle, and if I’m at home working a calf, I’m not going to be wearing a mask,” Henderson said. “But when I wear a mask to show my calf, it’s going to get a little spooked.”
To help minimize contact between all of the students showing animals, this year not as many animals will be staying at the coliseum for the duration of the show. Many of the animals will be brought in, shown and returned home all on the same day which makes things a bit more difficult on both the animals and the students.
Some of the animals themselves will also need to maintain social distance. There is currently a virus — Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV) — affecting swine. According to the National Pork Board, this virus is not contagious to people or other animals and does not affect the food supply. However it can still be devastating to mature pigs and fatal to piglets.
Youth Ambassador Presley Tivis, a junior at Fox who raises pigs, explained the virus.
“It makes it really hard because if one pig is sick and they pass it onto another pig, they will get dehydrated really fast and lose 20 to 30 pounds,” Tivis said. “Then if we end up bringing a sick pig home and it passes onto the sows, that will kill any babies they have.”
Ambassador Sponsor Linda Baughman said show organizers have put precautions in place to prevent the spread of PEDV. Everyone showing pigs will have to bring veterinary papers showing their animal has been examined within the last 72 hours. The pigs will also be checked for symptoms the day of the show then leave as soon as its over.
After the show concludes on Thursday evening, the grand and reserve champions for each animal (excluding pigs because of the virus) will return for an auction to take place on Friday evening. There, the community is invited to bid on the winning animal with grands bringing in around $2,500 and reserves bringing in $1,500 to $2,000 depending on the animal.