County fair brings Jackson community together

Amber Aldaco By Amber Aldaco

Oct. 11, 2017 at 10:12 p.m.
Updated Oct. 12, 2017 at 11:30 a.m.

Zakary Smith, 17, washes his sheep, Lambylamb, before the lamb show at the Jackson County Youth Fair.

Zakary Smith, 17, washes his sheep, Lambylamb, before the lamb show at the Jackson County Youth Fair.   Olivia Vanni for The Victoria Advocate

EDNA - The snout of Pickles the blue butt pig wiggled as he ate feed while other pigs in the surrounding pens napped.

Makayla Garretson, 16, a junior at Edna High School, and a couple of her friends peered down at Pickles as he ate. Hours of exercising, feeding and preparing her pig since April have led to the big show day.

"It's exciting being in the arena," Makayla said as Pickles, who is a blue butt breed, continued to eat.

Makayla, who represented Edna FFA, remembered how it felt to show a pig for the first time in an arena when she was in sixth grade.

"It was nerve-wracking at first, but it's a lot of fun," Makayla said. "Pigs are very smart."

Pickles is one of more than 200 projects featured at the 68th annual Jackson County Youth Fair in Edna. The Brackenridge Main Event Center was bustling with exhibitors, family and friends on one of the most exciting days of the fair - Livestock Show Day.

"It's been a smooth fair, and there's been a great crowd," said Jackson County Youth Fair board member D'Anna Long.

While family and friends sat in the stands and cheered to support the youth, Ricky Zack stayed close by to the pens to support his twin stepsons, Cayden and Brayden Tipton, competitors in the goat division. Zack said his family enjoys the fair every year. He also appreciates the time spent helping Cayden and Brayden, who are freshmen at Edna High School, with their projects. Having kids involved in an event like the county fair also helps instill a good work ethic, he said.

"It's about making memories while you can because one day it will be over," Zack said.

Brayden, 14, said he was initially going to compete in the swine division, but his pig was underweight. He then competed in the goat division alongside his brother, Cayden. Brayden has been involved with the county fair for four years and represented Texana 4-H.

"It's fun and stressful, but it's helpful in the long run," Brayden said.

Cayden, also 14, has showed goats in the county fair since he was in sixth grade, with the exception of last year, when he competed in the lamb division. Raising an animal is both difficult at times but fun, he said.

Cayden and his goat received Grand Champion in the goat division Wednesday. Cayden also represented Texana 4-H.

"It's amazing and a blessing to be able to do this," Cayden said.

Michael Bubela, a student at Ganado Junior High, spent about 45 minutes a day for several months preparing his lamb for the livestock show. Michael has been involved with the county fair for three years and represented Ganado 4-H this year. Though Michael was nervous to compete in his first year, he said he feels much more confident now.

"It takes a lot of responsibility," Michael, 12, said. "The fair is more than rides and a carnival."

The county fair also brings out volunteerism in the Jackson County community, said Jackson County Youth Fair board member Valerie Callaway.

The fair organization is a nonprofit, she said, run by volunteers all year.

Callaway said high school students from Edna, Ganado and Industrial school districts spent Monday volunteering. Students who did not have an animal project also helped animal exhibitors.

"It's nice to see so many helping," Callaway said. "That just shows the involvement of the community."


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