The 2013 Johnson County Livestock Show and Youth Fair is days away, markedly earlier than in year’s past.
A change in schedule allows time for students to prepare for other shows around the state, including those in Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio, said show Superintendent Ronnie Galbreath.
Galbreath, who has been part of the show for about 35 years, said he is looking forward to the show and hopes for good weather.
“It’s different for us this year because of the change of date,” he said. “It’s getting here a little faster than normal, and everything’s going pretty fast right now. It might be a little colder, but we’ll cope.”
The number of entries this year hovers around 1,700, down just slightly from last year’s 1,800 entries. However, Galbreath said, some entries will come in late and a new computer system, introduced last year, has caused some growing pains in entering contestants.
Galbreath grew up around animals and now owns show goats, some of which will be shown at the livestock show. His four children showed animals throughout school, and two grandchildren — a sixth-grader and sophomore — are showing pigs and goats this year. One grandchild has graduated, and two others will be old enough to show for the first time next year.
“We go out there to compete,” he said. “Whatever we do, if we can make the sale, anything beyond that is just gravy. We enjoy doing it. My kids enjoyed doing it, and my grandkids are enjoying it.
“In the past we’ve done pretty well. Most of the time we go buy [goats] somewhere else so that if people want to buy our goats they wont think we are keeping the best for ourselves. We offer our best and if they don’t sell, then maybe we’ll keep them.”
Having been the swine superintendent for about 25 years, the show superintendent, president and vice president of the Johnson County Livestock and Agricultural Association, Galbreath said he feels prepared and excited for the 2013 show.
“This is a very competitive county,” he said. “Our judges always compliment [the students] and tell them how fun they are to judge.
“My favorite thing is seeing the faces of kids when they get a ribbon. Seeing the first-time kids with their cooperation, and I enjoy the fact that I am around kids and see that they are doing something to help themselves and learn.”
Galbreath said he worries, however, that showing animals may one day be too expensive for the average family. He said he believes that is why entry numbers are down this year.
“We’re probably going to be a down a little bit in the number of animals because of the economy,” he said. “Feed has gotten high and animals are high. Feed is going to stay where it is, because drought really hurt the feed prices. I don’t know if the price of animals will ever go down. I thought a few years ago it would [be too expensive], and people are still buying. It’s unbelievable what some people pay for animals, but I guess as long as people have money they will do it.”
The 2013 show officially kicks off at 6 p.m. Jan. 5 with the queen and ambassador contest and dinner at the Cleburne Conference Center. Set up is Jan. 7. The first show is poultry and turkeys, held the evening of Jan. 8.
For more information on the Livestock Show and Youth Fair and a schedule of events, visit johnson.agrilife.org.