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2012 Victoria Livestock show opens


March 1, 2012 at 6:02 p.m.
Updated Feb. 29, 2012 at 9:01 p.m.

Danielle Warzecha comforts her son Mason Maraggia during the early rounds of the rabbit judging at the Victoria Livestock Show. Mason placed 24th after the final round.

It's been several days since Gary Burns and his pup, Kitty, took first place in the Victoria Livestock Show Wiener Dog races. But, in addition to the trophy, Kitty got to go home.

That isn't the case with every stock show animal.

"A couple of years ago, my daughter showed a goat and the hardest thing was when she sold the goat," he said. "I had to go back and stop my wife and daughter from sneaking it out the back door. It was tough."

The Victoria County commissioner spoke as part of the 66th annual Victoria Livestock Show's grand opening ceremony at the Victoria Community Center, 2905 E. North St.

The Thursday event, which kicked off the five-day show, included a ribbon cutting, stock show memorials, awards and more, but animal judging lasted throughout the day.

Cowgirl Tot Ella Jander whiled away her time during market rabbit judging playing with friends, cuddling with bunnies and making the tiny plastic horses she brought along prance through the dirt.

The 4-year-old, who dressed the part in boots, a button-down and tiara-laden cowboy hat, said she was ready for her day's duties.

"I'm passing out ribbons," she said with a shy smile.

Meanwhile, behind the concession stand, 15-year-old Allan Stithem kept busy filling non-stop orders for soft drinks, nachos and more. While it was a hectic job, it was one he was accustomed to.

After all, he said, he's been doing it his entire life.

"He started out in a backpack on my back," Allan's mother and concessions chairwoman Toni Stithem said as she balanced on crutches. "And I appreciate the help. With my broken ankle, he's my feet this year."

Market broiler exhibitor Jessica Loredo faced a different sort of obstacle altogether, when one of her three broilers died during judging. With a cool head and focus on what she was there to do, however, she still pulled off a reserve champion win.

"You just have to keep going if something goes wrong," she said as she awaited the showmanship competition.

Other events lasted well into the evening, including market hog judging, the stock show carnival and beer garden entertainment.

Victoria Jaycee President Dian Patterson called the start-up a success.

The grand opening ceremony was bigger than in 2011, she said, and things seemed to be running fairly smoothly.

"All the fires have been put out," she said with a laugh from her station at the souvenir table. "It's good."



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