Mostly sunny skies covered Cleburne on Monday when the first show of the 84th annual Johnson County Junior Livestock Show and Youth Fair kicked off with market broilers and meat turkeys.
Keith Scott of Floresville judged this year’s poultry. Scott graduated from Texas A&M University in 1991 with a degree in poultry science.
“This was an outstanding show,” he said. “I really appreciate y’all giving me the opportunity to come out here and participate in this. I grew up doing this, my kids grew up doing this. I have no kids at home now so this is how I enjoy it now.”
Turkeys and broilers entered in this year’s show were all procured from the same hatchery to give each entry an equal chance of success using only varied feeding and care methods, according to Johnson County Livestock and Agriculture Association rules.
Scott said what the competition came down to was breast meat.
“The breast meat is what brings all the pricing at the market,” he said. “So what I’m looking for is if I were to filet one of these, which one is going to give me the most breast meat that I can present to the grocery stores? I’m looking for the width at the base of the keil, how much they carry at the top, the length and the body depth.”
In the turkey show, the champions of the day were Madison McClure of Friendship 4-H winning grand champion and Cutter Stephens of Grandview 4-H winning reserve champion. There were 20 turkeys shown.
The broiler contest was larger with seven classes consisting of 107 pens of three chickens, all divided by weight by the JCLAA.
Scott said there were about 22 pens with really good chickens.
“Typically, it’s just one bird that’s making a difference,” he said. “Again, what I’m looking for as a judge is the breast meat that we can filet off of these birds. It’s a really close toss up on the one and two. There’s two birds in one pen that are better than anything in here, the other three are more uniform.”
In the end, it was Kayley Leck of Cleburne FFA who won grand champion and Annabelle Schmidt of Grandview FFA claiming reserve champion.
The 84th Johnson County Livestock Show and Youth Fair runs through Friday.
Top market animals will be sold at the premium sale of champions at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Cleburne Conference Center, 1501 W. Henderson St.
Exhibitors retain possession of their entries after the sale so they can campaign in other shows across Texas over the next few months.
Keep updated and share your favorite moments at the Johnson County Junior Livestock Show and Youth Fair by downloading the Johnson County Junior Livestock Show and Youth Fair app on the Apple App store or the Google Play store.