The 2020 Runnels County Junior Livestock Show was January 9th and 10th at the Ballinger Community Center. This year they had approximately 110 entrants in the various categories of swine, sheep, rabbits, heifers, steer and goat. The kids put in a lot of work from Thursday evening until Saturday evening. They worked with their respective animals and groomed them the entire time, always making sure that their animal was the best that he or she could be. The livestock barn was a flurry of organized chaos.

The show was mostly Runnels County 4-H youth but there were many kids from the various FFA groups, including Olfen, Ballinger, Winters and Miles. All of the kids did a great job and the work that they put into raising their animals for show was evident. Their preparation was meticulous, to say the least.

The Junior Livestock Show Association raised approximately $110,000 for the kids. There was a premium sale on Saturday that raised more money. Bill Belew, president of the Runnels County Junior Livestock Show Association says that the money goes to the kids, “Every penny of the money goes to the kids.”

The money is distributed via a points system. An example would be; you get so many points for raising a steer and so many points for raising a rabbit. It obviously costs more to raise a steer so they have more points than a rabbit. Then where you finish in the show will garner you more points. In the end, the points are all tallied up and the money distributed.

The judges for the show this year were: Nick Randy for swine; Chris Bears for rabbits; Gary Clayton for cattle; Josh Kouns for sheep. The entries were: 35 steer; 15 heifers; 100 swine; 95 goats and sheep; 50 rabbits.

As always, it was a family event with great-grandparents and grandparents coming out to see their grandchildren participate. Livestock showing is a multigenerational family endeavor in Runnels County. Many families are on their 4th or 5th generation showing livestock. The breeding, the nutrition and the work the kids put in is extensive and requires excellent time management skills when you consider that the kids still have homework from school and other requirements. One young lady took off right after her show on Sunday evening so that she could go play in a varsity basketball game. She went from the show ring to the basketball court in a matter of minutes.

All in all the show went smoothly once again. The volunteers are seasoned professionals for the most part, with many having volunteer for 10 years or more. The machine runs well and everyone helps everyone out for the benefit of the kids in the show.

This year the Grand Champion Steer went to Braden Hoppe. The Reserve Grand Champion Steer went to Corley Belew.

Complete results are listed in today’s B Section.