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LA SALLE JUNIOR STOCKSHOW OPENS THURSDAY
By Marc Robertson
Special health and safety precautions will be in place for the remainder of this week as youths from the La Salle County 4H and FFA clubs exhibit and auction their livestock projects at the fairgrounds on Hwy 97 in Cotulla.
Wild Hog Weekend, as it has become known across Texas, is La Salle County’s biggest tourist attraction on the calendar, traditionally bringing tens of thousands of visitors to the county fairgrounds for four days of contests, exhibits, food, games and entertainment, including the popular Wild Hog Cook-Off itself. All those events, however, have been canceled this year out of concern for public safety during the coronavirus pandemic.
The annual La Salle County Junior Livestock Show will be held nonetheless, but will be closed to the general public and only limited admission will be allowed for the youths’ family members and for buyers at Saturday’s auction.
Entrance to the Alexander Memorial Showbarn will be controlled; colored wristbands are being issued to a select number of attendees.
This year’s livestock events have been stretched over a broader schedule to allow social distancing and to prevent crowding, according to AgriLife Extension Agent Victoria Wilson.
Thursday’s activities begin at 7 a.m., when exhibitors with commercial heifers, hogs and broiler chickens arrive at the barn. The livestock projects will be weighed and sifted from 9 a.m. onwards.
Judging also begins at 9 a.m. with commercial heifer record book examination and cattle judging. Commercial heifer exhibitors are interviewed at 10:30 a.m. Results and awards are presented at noon.
Thursday afternoon includes hog judging and the swine awards immediately following, and broiler judging thirty minutes later.
In order to prevent crowding, event organizers are limiting access to the broiler show by allowing only parents to assist the youths in exhibiting their projects. Poultry awards are presented immediately after judging is complete.
Friday’s activities begin at 7 a.m. with arrival of exhibitors with goats, steers and halter heifers. Weighing and sifting begins at 9 a.m.
Youths exhibiting wood- and metal-shop projects will also arrive Friday between 7 and 9 a.m., when judging begins. Results for those contests will be announced at noon.
Goat judging begins at noon on Friday, after which awards are announced. Steer judging begins thirty minutes after the end of the goat show, and the heifer show will follow. Awards in those contests will likewise be announced at the close of judging.
All animals that are to be transported from the fairgrounds must be removed by 6:30 p.m. both Thursday and Friday. Shop projects will be released after Saturday’s auction.
The junior livestock show auction will be organized differently this year than in the past, as youths will not bring their animals back into the arena.
A reception will be held at noon on Saturday for auction buyers, at which time all those expecting to place bids will register with auction organizers. The auction begins at 1:30 p.m. The order of sale begins with the grand and reserve champions in each division, followed by steers, commercial heifers, goats, hogs and broilers. Exhibitors must all be present to walk across the stage.
The schedule for this year’s show has been drafted by the 4-H and FFA clubs working collaboratively; event times are subject to change if necessary to meet health and safety protocols.
The county fairgrounds are closed to tourists this year, as there will be no carnival, live entertainment or food vendors. The annual Ranch Rodeo on Sunday has likewise been canceled.