4H

Val Verde 4-H’ers use plush rabbits to practice their show and handling skills in preparation for the livestock show, slated for Jan. 4-5, 2019.

Val Verde County’s 4-H participants are preparing their animals and showmanship skills for the organization’s annual livestock competition, slated to begin Jan. 3, 2019, event organizers say.

During the three-day show, participants will show swine, goats, sheep and rabbits in hopes of winning the coveted blue ribbon and earning some cash from their animals during the event’s annual auction.

Judging begins at noon Jan. 4 for breeding rabbits, fryer rabbits, rabbit showmanship, angora goat doe kids, goat breeding classes, lamb showmanship, meat goat showmanship, market swine and swine showmanship. Judging for market goats and lambs will begin at 8 a.m. Jan. 5, according to the schedule.

“As we get closer to the show they’re all getting excited,” said 4-H lamb and goat project leader Trevor Hill. “They’re putting in quite a few hours a week.”

Participants begin preparing for the show in July, Hill said, feeding and exercising their animals while practicing their showing skills.

Market animals are graded on overall body conformation, said Hill, while the breeding animals are evaluated on structural correctness.

Market animals are eligible for participants to sell at the auction, each of which sells for about $1,000 on average, Hill said. In past shows, the auction raised more than $160,000 total in scholarships for the livestock participants, he said.

This year, children younger than eight years old are encouraged to participate in the “Future 4-H’ers Show,” said Val Verde County Extension Agent Emily Grant. The future participants are invited to “show” lambs and goats and earn a ribbon under current 4-H participant supervision, Grant said.

Show organizers invite the community to the 4-H barbecue from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 5, Grant said. Lunch tickets are $8 and to-go plates are available, she said.

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