Livestock show offers economic boosts (video)
By BY ALLISON MILES - AMILES@VICAD.COM
Feb. 27, 2013 at 8:03 p.m.
Updated Feb. 27, 2013 at 8:28 p.m.
The pens were up, last-minute prep was underway and, already on Wednesday, many animals had made their way in.
Yes, things were bustling inside the Victoria Community Center.
But as the 2013 Victoria Livestock Show gets its start Thursday, people say it's more than participants who come out on top.
Victoria benefits, too.
The annual show packs a major economic punch, Victoria County Extension Agent Peter McGuill said. Not only are people staying in hotels and eating at Victoria restaurants, he said, but they're also spending money on-site for carnival tickets, concessions, vendor booth items and more.
"There's no doubt," he said. "It has a huge impact."
The Victoria Convention and Visitors Bureau began receiving calls about the show just after Christmas, said LaRue Roth, the bureau's director. Most of those, she said, came from potential vendors.
Interest picked up in recent weeks.
Google Analytics for the visitors bureau website showed that, starting about mid-month, the stock show became the highest-searched activity leading people to the page, she said. In response, the organization created a stock show feature item, adding links to both the show's schedule and official stock show page.
Various Victoria hotels have also reported some of their guests are in town for the show, she said, although many attendees come from the Crossroads.
"We know there are many more day visitors than overnight, and we're OK with that," Roth said. "It shows that people in our town and region are excited about what there is to do here."
Gill Dollins, who owns Victoria Farm and Ranch Supply, agreed the show offered a bit of a boost to the community.
Business inside his store picks up this time of year with participants purchasing wood shavings, show sticks, feed and more, he said. Other stores experience a similar increase.
Still, he said, the projects' impacts aren't limited to the week of the stock show.
Participants purchase their hogs in October and their lambs and goats between June and August, while show steers are basically a year-round project. During that time, they're feeding the animals and buying necessary supplies.
While participants are doing their part, however, Dollins said he does what he can to help them out.
He had two sons who participated in the show every year they were eligible, he said and offers first-hand advice when he can.
"We sell them the feed, but we also try to be a service to them," he said. "We did this for so long that it's something I can do to give back."
That mindset - giving to the community and making a real difference - is what the show is all about, McGuill said.
While the economic impact is nice, as is the money the children make at auction, the real gain comes from the life skills participants pick up, such as time management, dedication, work ethic and responsibility.
"I've told a lot of parents over the years that, if you're worried about making money, don't bother with raising livestock projects," he said with a laugh. "It's not about the money."