Junior Livestock Show appeals to all ages, across generations | Community

Years ago, when Bobbie Boghosian attended Orange High School in Hillsborough, she participated in the Future Farmers of America (FFA) program. She found it rewarding and was involved with the organization throughout her time in high school.

“It’s good for teaching responsibility, business,” Bobbie said. “It was good for me, helped me bond with other students, and with pets.”

Now, she’s a married mother of two daughters. She encouraged her youngest, Macie, to join the FFA when she reached the ninth grade, and today, at the Central Piedmont Junior Livestock Show, Bobbie is nervously awaiting her daughter’s first time showing the pig she’s worked with for months.

But for all the FFA advice and memories mother could pass to daughter, showing a livestock animal is something Bobbie never did during her time in high school.

Macie and her pig, Darla, entered the ring with three other youths and their pigs. For the next few minutes, the pigs were gently prodded by the teens, into doing laps around the ring, while trying to keep the animals at their side, keep them from bunching, and from rooting. Macie’s gaze almost never strayed from Darla.

A judge walks next to Macie, offering advice, and talking with her about her experience. In the end, Macie and Darla do not advance to the next round, but the response from her parents is positive and acknowledges their daughter’s hard work.

“For her first time, I thought she did great,” said Bobbie, who lives in Efland with family.

In an area behind the show ring, where animals are being prepped for their chance to show off, Macie’s look of concentration and determination has given way to an easy smile. Was she nervous today?

“Yes,” she quickly said. “It’s been good, but very nerve-wracking building up to the show. It was a good life experience.”

Good enough that Macie — and her mother — said she will continue to make FFA a part of her life while at high school.

Jonathon Smith, who is the extension agent of 4-H Youth Development at the Orange County Center NC Cooperative Extension, has seen many times, the multigenerational family involvement with the FFA, 4-H, and the Central Piedmont Junior Livestock Show. And it’s not unusual for them to start early.

“I think our youngest is a five-year-old,” Smith said. “They typically are the ones that show goats and sheep, but we actually have a couple of five- or six-year-olds that are going to be allowed to show a very small heifer this afternoon.”

After two years of pandemic-related restrictions, the Junior Livestock Show is starting to resemble its pre-Covid-19 look, with more spectators and volunteers.

“We haven’t actively advertised anybody nearby to come, but we haven’t told people not to come this year,” Smith said. “It’s just good to be back to a little bit more normal of a show. Our numbers are about 65 kids, and representing about nine counties, from Wake County all the way out to, I think, the Guilford and Randolph counties area. It’s going to continue to grow. I think more families are going get back into it. We’re trying to provide opportunities for them to do that through FFA and 4-H.”

Lauren Hoesli is a member of Orange County 4-H and in the past, has shown sheep and pigs at the Junior Livestock Show. She decided to take a break from showing animals, but wanted to stay involved with the program. She serves on the Orange County 4-H council and is working as an intern doing live videos and helping to manage the live-stream of this year’s show.

The opportunity is providing a new aspect for Hoesli. “I’m definitely learning a lot more about the behind the scenes work, like the amount of sponsors that come in and things that happen in the show office. I’d just been behind the ring and then in the ring. Now, I ‘ve seen what has to come together and sit in on committee meetings. Just seeing the different parts that I just never knew about,” she said.

Smith said, despite recent smaller shows, the community has continued to provide strong support and high-level donations. Much of the money raised for the Central Piedmont Junior Livestock Show goes back to the participants and their families to help cover the expenses of raising their animals. Some of the participants, especially if seniors in high school, put it toward college, if they’re planning to attend.

For information on results from the Central Piedmont Junior Livestock Show, go to: https://sites.google.com/ncsu.edu/piedmontlivestockshow

.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.