YADKINVILLE — Area youth are gearing up for this weekend’s annual Yadkin-Davie 4-H Livestock Show, which will be held Saturday at the Lone Hickory Arena on Bethel Church Road beginning at noon. Admission is free.
County livestock agent Phil Rucker said children from Davie, Yadkin and surrounding counties will be exhibiting their beef cows, sheep and goats for a chance to win championships, prizes and bragging rights. He also said it is an opportunity for students to learn important skills.
“These youth have been preparing their livestock projects over the spring and summer getting ready for this show and many other shows this fall,” he said. “Most of these youth will compete at the Dixie Classic and N.C. State fairs later this year. Through these livestock projects, youth learn important life skills like sportsmanship, animal management, dealing with adversity, time management, patience and others.”
Eleven-year-old Eli Thomas has been competing for six years now. He will be showing market lambs and breeding ewes.
“I like the excitement of waiting for baby lambs to be born each spring,” Thomas said. “I also look forward to the excitement of show day.”
Andrew Blevins, 10, and Taylor Blevins, 8, will be competing this year for the first time at the 4-H livestock show with their registered American Dairy Goat Association (ADGA) Alpine Dairy Goats.
Andrew has a 3-year-old nanny goat named Rose, who gave birth to her first kid this spring. Taylor has a registered ADGA Alpine Dairy Goat named Lily. She is a 3-month-old doeling. Neither goats have been shown before.
Alison Blevins, Andrew and Taylor’s mother, said that Andrew’s goat had never been handled before he got her and it was quite an experience.
“She was wild,” Blevins said. “He learned to milk her while she was kicking, biting and moving. Taylor was able to milk her the easiest, while Andrew and I held her, because her hands are so small.”
In addition to working with their beloved goats, Andrew and Taylor also enjoy horseback riding and barrel racing and they raise backyard, free range chickens, which were on display at the Agriculture Awareness Day for second-graders, hosted earlier this year by the Extension Agency.
Just as Rucker said, raising animals and livestock can teach important skills about dealing with adversity. Blevins said when they arrived home from Agriculture Day, they made a gruesome discovery. Their outside dog had killed 38 of their chickens.
“We only had three chickens alive and they were with us,” Blevins said. “This was a very humbling experience for the kids to go through. They are replenishing their flock this spring and summer and hope to have eggs by the fall.”
Blevins said that 4-H has given her children many wonderful experiences and they are thriving in the environment.
Andrew has won several 4-H awards including a gold medal at the district competition in Elkin where he competed in Equine Public Speaking on the topic “How to age a horse by it’s teeth.” He also took gold at the 4-H Congress in Raleigh this summer.
In June, Taylor competed in Asheville at the NC National Barrel Horse Association (NBHA) State Finals, Pee-Wee Barrel Racing. Despite a setback when her horse was injured and she had to compete on horse sh had never ridden before, a horse named Kicker, she came in second place with the fastest time out of 31 children.
Last week Andrew and Taylor took their first sewing class from 4-H State Officer Madaline Jones. They made pillows for the Dixie Classic Fair and Blevins said, “now, the children have ‘sewing fever’ and are ready to sew winter coats for their goats and dogs.”
“They have had a wonderful summer being involved in the Yadkin County 4-H programs and look forward to more activities to come,” she said.
For questions or more information about 4-H or the upcoming Livestock Show, contact the Extension Center at Davie County at 336-753-6100 or Yadkin County at 336-679-2061.
Kitsey E. Burns may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter @RippleReporterK.