Advocate Editorial Board opinion: Event teaches, rewards kids for their work

Spring comes early in South Texas. Despite a few rainstorms and chilly spells, the weather is mild, and flowers are beginning to bloom. With this early spring comes the annual Victoria Livestock Show.

Every year, students raise a variety of animals - from broilers and turkeys to hogs and steers - in an effort to bring home the coveted grand champion title and make some money at auction. This event gives students a chance to learn about raising livestock and be rewarded for their hard work.

According to the livestock show website, the Victoria show is one of only a few in the state that lets students keep 100 percent of their auction earnings. Billie Hessler, the show's auction chairwoman, said last year was a record-breaking year for the show. Out of the 711 animals entered in the show, 275 were sold, earning $570,700 for the students. In addition, the show takes add-ons, where attendees can give extra money to individual students. Last year, the show collected 1,436 add-ons, totaling $147,000, which also went directly to the students. The entrance fees collected at the front gate are used to offer scholarships in conjunction with the Jaycees program.

We are excited to see the livestock show return to Victoria. This will be the show's 67th year, and we look forward to seeing what kinds of creative events will be paired with the grand tradition of agriculture that helped to make Texas the great state it is today.

The stock show begins Feb. 28, but the preshow events begin Friday with the registration for the barbecue cook-off and the margarita judging. Saturday, the Livestock Show Parade will begin at 10 a.m. in downtown Victoria. The barbecue cook-off, horseshoes and washers, pet show and wiener dog races will also take place Saturday.

According to Hessler, there are 509 market animals entered in this year's show, and about 700 students will be presenting animals, either market or breeding.

We encourage members of the community to come out and support the Victoria Livestock Show. This event brings plenty of entertainment and educational opportunities to Victoria every year, and we hope everyone will take advantage of this event run by members of the community with the specific intention of benefiting the next generation of agricultural leaders in Victoria County.

To all the students who have entered this year's competition, we wish you luck. We hope to see your animals in the auction ring.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.