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Entries at Kansas Junior Livestock Show reach 25-year high
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The 81st Annual Kansas Junior Livestock Show (KJLS) promises to be a big event this year, with 795 youth from 92 counties entering 1,817 animals. This is the largest number of livestock entered in 25 years. The total includes 148 market steers, 354 breeding heifers, 325 market hogs, 103 breeding gilts, 301 market lambs, 246 breeding ewes, 249 meat goats and 91 commercial doe kids. The statewide event will be held Sept. 20-23 at the Kansas Pavilions in Wichita.
For the second consecutive year, Pottawatomie County leads the state with the most exhibitors, 30, and the largest number of breeding heifers, 25. Johnson County has entered the most total livestock, 69, and tops the market lamb and breeding ewe categories with 22 and 16 head, respectively. McPherson County is sending eight market steers, the most of any county in the state. Franklin County youth are bringing 22 market hogs and nine breeding gilts, which represents the largest numbers for these categories. Labette County competitors have entered the most meat goats, 20. The largest number of commercial doe kids entered, six each, is a tie between Cherokee, Labette, Marion and Pottawatomie counties.
The grand and reserve steers, hogs, lambs and goats will be sold during the KJLS Auction of Champions, Sept. 23 at 7 p.m. The public is welcome and encouraged to support the event by bidding on livestock in the live auction. Participants typically use the money earned from selling these animals to help fund their college educations and purchase next year’s livestock projects.
Prior to the premium sale, KJLS will present a number of scholarships ranging from $750 to $2,500 to exhibitors who have excelled academically, in community service and in 4-H/FFA. This is the 20th year for the scholarship program, which has awarded a total of $328,100 to 256 KJLS exhibitors since 1993. Last year, a total of $23,000 was awarded to 13 exhibitors. The scholarship program is funded primarily through private contributions and income generated by the Beefeaters Barbecue held in the Sam Fulco Pavilion prior to the auction. Tickets to the Sept. 23 barbecue, which will begin at 5:30 p.m., are $65 and can be purchased at the door that evening or in advance by calling Cheryl Smith at (316) 390-0285.
“This traditional event for Kansas youth has a large number of faithful and very generous supporters,” said KJLS President Brian Creager of Emporia. “It is a great way for businesses and individuals to reward young people for their hard work and help them meet their educational goals.”
Separate from the selection of species champions, a showmanship contest will be held. The top showman in both the junior and senior divisions of each species will receive a silver belt buckle. Prizes also will be awarded for second through fifth place in each division.
The Kansas Livestock Foundation (KLF) will sponsor a club calf show and sale during KJLS. Steer and heifer prospects from some of the top club calf producers in the Midwest will be consigned. The event will take place Sept. 21. Sale proceeds will go toward KLF Youth in Agriculture scholarships.
The Mid-America Classic Collegiate Livestock Judging Contest also will be held in conjunction with KJLS. More than 300 students representing 20 junior and senior colleges from across the U.S. will be participating Sept. 21. Sponsors of the event include Central Life Sciences, Innovative Livestock Services, the Kansas Livestock Association (KLA), KLF and Zoetis. Those providing livestock for the contest include James Brothers Club Lambs, Clay Center; McCurry Angus Ranch, Burrton; Mein Boer Goats, Girard; Alan Miller, Alma; Wedel Southdowns, Moundridge; and Zimmerman Hog Farms, Beatrice, NE.     
Major sponsors for KJLS are KLA, Kansas State University and the Agri-Business Council of Wichita. In addition to these groups, hundreds of volunteers from across the state help organize and put on the show.
Great Bend: Steele Brack- Breeding Ewe, Breeding Ewe, Sheep Showmanship; Austin VanderMeer- Meat Goat, Comm Doe Kid, Goat Showmanship.
Ellinwood: Katie Shafer- Market Steer, Chianina Breeding Heifer, Market Lamb, Comm Doe Kid, Beef Showmanship, Goat Showmanship, Market Lamb, Market Lamb, Meat Goat, Meat Goat, Sheep Showmanship, Goat Showmanship.