Local students bring home ribbons in Premier Exhibitor Contest, livestock shows during Alabama National Fair

Fall fairs signal livestock show season

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Winners in the Intermediate Division of the Premier Exhibitor contest during the 2019 Youth Beef Cattle Show in Montgomery Oct. 6 were, from left, Mary Hannah Gullatt of Lee County, high individual; Victoria Thompson of Lee County, second; Mary Elliott Martin of Lee County, third; Rex Harrison of Cullman County, fourth; and Dow Boyd of Coffee County, fifth. The Premier Contest tests students’ livestock knowledge, evaluation skills and showmanship. The contest, held during the Alabama National Fair, was sponsored by the Alabama Farmers Federation and Alfa Insurance.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – For hundreds of youth across Alabama, fall fair season means one thing- it’s livestock show time.

That translates to family time for youth like Cole Eubanks of Cullman County, one of about 250 exhibitors to compete in livestock shows during the Alabama National Fair Oct. 4-14.

The Alabama Farmers Federation and Alfa Insurance annually sponsor shows at the Montgomery-based fair, along with the National Peanut Festival in Dothan Nov. 1-10.

“I like showing livestock because I like to spend time with family, and I like to go places with my family,” said 10-year-old Eubanks, who showed Charolais cattle from his family’s Holly Pond farm.

On the fair circuit, youth may exhibit beef cattle, goats, sheep, dairy cattle or swine, in addition to competing in showmanship contests.

Preparing for the show ring is no small feat, with youth spending hours each day in the barn learning to fit their animals.

“You fix their hair the right way and brush it till it’s right,” Eubanks said. “After that you walk into the show ring and are ready to go.”

Students also compete in Premier Exhibitor Contests, which test livestock knowledge, evaluation skills and showmanship. Mary Hannah Gullatt of Lee County was named the Intermediate Division High Individual and echoed Eubanks’ thoughts on training.

“We work the calves every day, washing, drying and practicing,” said Gullatt, 15, who lives in Salem and was inspired to show cattle because of her older sister, Grace. “We spend a lot of time in the barn and mainly learn about working hard.”

Gullatt exhibited the Market Show Bred and Owned Reserve Grand Champion and Hereford Division Reserve Champion Heifer. Her 11-year-old brother, Silas, exhibited the Hereford Division Bred and Owned Reserve Champion Heifer. Gullatt said her experiences showing cattle encouraged her to pursue joining a livestock judging team in college.

Lessons learned showing livestock will resonate throughout the lives of these youth, said the Alabama Farmers Federation’s Brady Ragland.

“Responsibility, dedication and hard work are just a few of the traits students pick up through showing livestock,” said Ragland, the commodity director who oversees the Federation’s youth livestock programs. “They also get an up-close look at Alabama’s No. 1 industry, agriculture. It’s important to invest in these youth and help cultivate characteristics we need in future agricultural leaders.”

View photos from the Alabama National Fair on the Federation’s Facebook and Flickr pages.

Austin Alexander of Cullman County won Charolais Division Alabama Bred and Owned Reserve Champion Heifer during the 2019 Youth Beef Cattle Show in Montgomery Oct. 6. The contest, held during the Alabama National Fair, was sponsored by the Alabama Farmers Federation and Alfa Insurance. Contest judge was Shane Werk, Beef Unit manager at Kansas State University. Alexander is pictured with Alabama Farmers Federation President Jimmy Parnell.
Rex Harrison of Cullman County won Charolais Division Alabama Bred and Owned Grand Champion Heifer during the 2019 Youth Beef Cattle Show in Montgomery Oct. 6. The contest, held during the Alabama National Fair, was sponsored by the Alabama Farmers Federation and Alfa Insurance. Contest judge was Shane Werk, Beef Unit manager at Kansas State University. Harrison is pictured with Alabama Farmers Federation President Jimmy Parnell.
Walker Johnson of Cullman County won Supreme Champion during Market Show at the 2019 Youth Beef Cattle Show in Montgomery Oct. 6. He also was All Other Breed Division Champion. The contest, held during the Alabama National Fair, was sponsored by the Alabama Farmers Federation and Alfa Insurance. Contest judge was Shane Werk, Beef Unit manager at Kansas State University. Johnson is pictured with Alabama Farmers Federation President Jimmy Parnell.
Walker Johnson, Cullman County, was named Intermediate Reserve Champion at the Alabama National Fair on Oct. 5. Alabama Farmers Federation and Alfa Insurance are major sponsors of youth livestock shows at the Fair.