Siblings work together to show in annual Jackson County Youth Fair

Emily Allen, 14, helps her brother, Blaine Allen, 17, during the auction at the Jackson County Youth Fair.

EDNA – Blaine Allen has been preparing for the Jackson County Youth Fair for the better part of the last year, caring for his steer and getting ready for the annual livestock show and auction.

But before Blaine, 17, could participate in Saturday’s auction, he sprained his ankle during a Friday night football game, leaving him in a boot and crutches.

But luckily, showing steers is a family affair for the Allens, and his little sister, Emily, 14, stepped in to help.

After Emily showed her steer in the auction, she came to the aid of her big brother and assisted him with his animal while his steer was auctioned.

Blaine, who plays for Industrial High School’s football team, was diagnosed with a high ankle sprain, he said.

Emily and Blaine, the children of Jamie and Dale Allen, have been showing steers for years and previously showed pigs. Emily, who represents the La Ward 4-H club, earned the reserve champion title in the steer category.

“I really like animals, so I really like getting to work with them and building relationships with them,” Emily said.

Dozens of kids and teens participate in the annual fair, raising livestock for months to prepare for the auction. Many of the participants keep their auction earnings to save for college or for other future plans. Last year, the auction brought in $818,895. The Jackson County Youth Fair Association, which hosts the fair, also helps graduating seniors plan for their future with scholarships.

To Kalyn Benavides, the fair’s scholarships are so important that she committed to donating $100 of her own sale price toward the scholarship fund for seniors.

Kalyn, 10, said her cousin who also shows livestock had decided to donate some of his auction earnings and that she wanted to follow his example.

“I thought that was a pretty neat thing, so I decided to do that to give back,” Kalyn said.

Kalyn lives with her parents, Diane and Chris Benavides, in Ganado. Like her peers, Kalyn has been preparing for this weekend for months. Her responsibilities include washing, feeding and walking the pig she’s working with as well as cleaning out the animal’s pen, all of which she has to do between school and softball practice.

“It takes a lot of work,” she said, but she added the effort was worth it when she got the chance to show the animal. Kalyn, who represents the Ganado Junior FFA, has showed for three years.

“I think it helps to learn to raise an animal yourself,” Diane Benavides said. “That’s a good experience for them to take it from an untamed (animal) to now where they’ve formed a bond.”

Ciara McCarthy covers local health issues for the Victoria Advocate as a Report for America corps member. You can reach her at or at 580-6597 or on Twitter at @mccarthy_ciara.

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Health Reporter

Ciara McCarthy covers public health for the Advocate as a Report for America corps member. She reports on insurance, the cost of health care, local hospitals, and more. Questions, tips, or ideas? Contact: or call 361-580-6597.

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