For many of the 4H and FFA members in the Helotes area, January 21 is almost a second chance at Christmas. For the past six months many of these students have worked hard to feed, exercise, and pamper their project animal for the opportunity to compete for the grand championship.
46 years ago, an Agriculture Science teacher at Marshall High School established a little show to provide the students in the program the chance to practice and work up to show ring at the major shows in Texas.
This little show grew into the biggest little show and sale and moved to the current location of Babcock Road years ago. Volunteers moved old turkey barns to the Babcock property and created the Walter Gerlach Livestock Show and Sale.
Students who raise animals for stock shows select their project animal many times in the summer. The student is responsible for feeding the animal at least twice a day; exercising the animal, grooming, and teaching their project how to behave in the show ring.
Project animals involve an investment in time and resources. The lessons stock show students learn include budgeting resources, time management, and responsibility for feeding and caring for the animal.
The students also learn to cope with loss when the project ends or if tragedy should strike.
For those individuals not wanting to raise a show animal the student can produce an Agricultural Mechanics project. This could be a table, animal trap, BBQ pit, or other items.
The student and the animal will be judged during their time in the show ring. The student must present their exhibit to the judge focusing on the strengths of the muscle and finish of the animal.
Successful students who place highly in the show ring earn the right to place their animal in the sale at the end of the show.
Community members and business leaders gather on the show grounds during the auction and bid on the project animals. The students receive the proceeds of the sale and have the opportunity to reinvest in their project for the next year, or to use the money to offset the cost of a higher education.
Students and project animals will be at the Gerlach grounds until Friday evening. Closing ceremonies will be held on Thursday, January 24. Poultry and rabbits show Monday, January 21. Goats and market lambs show Tuesday, January 22. Ag Mechanics projects and the steer show will be Wednesday, January 23. The swine show will be held on Thursday, January 24. Closing ceremonies will be held at 5pm on Thursday, January 24.
The Gerlach sale will take place on Saturday, January 26.
The kick off dance normally held on the Saturday before the show opening will actually take place on Friday, January 18 this year. The kickoff dance is held at Floore’s Country Store and if you love baked goods come out support the auction fund and bid on your favorite treat.