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Students compete at Coryell County Youth Fair

Fair concludes with premium auction on Saturday Jan. 13

Cove Leader-Press

Hundreds competed in the 65th annual Coryell County Youth Fair this week with more to come today.
This year’s fair had 417 exhibitors with more than 2,500 entries. Copperas Cove had 58 competitors this year. The competition began Monday with competitors bringing in items for the Home Economics contest (which was judged on Tuesday) and animals with competitions for the animals held throughout the week.
“It’s an opportunity for all the kids in our county to showcase their projects and compete against each other,” said Daniel West, Copperas Cove High School (CCHS) Animal Science teacher and FFA advisor, “There’s a variety of different animals—chickens, rabbits, turkeys, sheep, goats, pigs…A lot of these kids have put in hundreds if not thousands of hours since the beginning of the school year and some of them started even earlier than that. This is an awesome opportunity for them to prove themselves, and, at the end of it there’s an auction where tons and tons of sponsors from the county—and even outside the county—donate money to these kids so they can purchase things for their projects next year or, for seniors, they give scholarships. I saw a student last year who won close to $20,000.”
The fair is split into the first section which is for showcasing items that they’ve made in the Home Economics competition and the second half where they show the animals that they’ve worked hard to raise.
Items in the Home Economics competition included things like photography, baked goods, crafts, and more. Some items were crafted from metal, others with wood, and still more from a variety of other materials.
Trinity Aulabaugh, a 15-year-old sophomore from CCHS received the title of 1st Grand Champion for her counted cross stitch.
“It takes a lot of patience and a lot of time,” said Aulabaugh.
Aulabaugh said that she’s been participating in the Coryell County Youth Fairs since she was in the 3rd grade. She said that it’s a pretty rewarding experience and she’s especially excited when she is able to have something go to auction. She said that in a previous year she received Best in Show for one of her counted cross stitch works and it sold at auction for between $800-900. She said that the money she gets from the auctions goes towards improving her crafts as well as taking care of her animals. She also entered 3 pigs and 3 goats into the competition.
Horses were shown on Tuesday. Rabbits (meat pens, fryers, breeding, and then showmanship) were judged on Wednesday. Cattle (halter classes, breeding heifers, market steers, and then halter cattle showmanship), goats (angora and showmanship), and sheep (breeding sheep, market lamps, and then showmanship) were judged on Thursday. Poultry (broilers, roasters, turkeys, and then showmanship), dairy goats (doe/billie and then showmanship), goats (commercial and market), and swine (breeding, marker, and greased pig for 2nd graders, followed by showmanship) will be judged today. 
Saturday will feature the pee wees showing their rabbits, goats, and lambs.
Benjamin Seifert, CCHS Vet Medicine and Horticulture teacher and FFA advisor, said that the fair is a way to teach responsibility and allow the students to showcase their hard work.
“These kids have to learn how to judge how their animal is looking at that moment and adjust accordingly. There’s not a set plan,” said Seifert. “There’s a lot of science that goes into it…They put in so many hours. They’re there from when they are a few weeks old, when they are sick there’s long nights and weekends. It’s not just an animal to them. It becomes a family member as well.”
School provides an area for the animals which allows for a much more diverse group of students to be able to participate. Seifert says that they usually have students from all different walks of life and that each is able to thrive and enjoy caring for their animals.
Mya Rogers, an 18-year-old senior at CCHS, entered the swine, rabbit, and the Home Economics competitions at this year’s fair. Rogers said that she loves getting to show off all of her hard work and getting to see the results of that work. She said that she enjoys how it encourages work ethic. She said that she also really enjoys getting to interact with, support, and receive support from students from other schools throughout the county.
“At the end, it’s a lot of work put into it, so being rewarded and congratulated for the work means a lot to me,” said Rogers.
Hailee Spicer, a 15-year-old sophomore at CCHS entered the commercial doe, market weather goat, and Home Economics competitions at this year’s fair. 
“I love to show off the hard work, time, and effort that I put into my animals,” said Spicer. “It really shows when you get into that ring and can compare yourself to others.”
To get her goats ready for competition, she said that she works them out four times a week making sure that they have a good appearance both on the outside and that they have “good, market-quality meat” on the inside.
The Coryell County Youth Fair will culminate in an auction Saturday evening.
Reed Hooten (9) was one of Copperas Cove’s youngest competitors in this year’s fair. He will be showing three pigs. He said that he loves going to shows and taking care of his pigs.
“When they’re small, you can love on them,” said Hooten.
Those that received the title of Reserve or Grand Champion in the competition will have their items/animals up for Saturday’s auction. The auction is used as a way for the community to support the young competitors with many items going for hundreds of dollars (and some seniors receiving money to go towards scholarships). The livestock portion of the auction is a Premium Auction which means the bidder does not purchase the animal. The money goes to support the students and reward their work.
Cameron Lewis, a 16-year-old junior at CCHS, entered goats and rabbits as well as competing in the Home Economics competition at this year’s fair. Lewis said that he loves getting to put in effort and hard work in caring for his animals. He said that it’s rewarding to hear the feedback from the judges and learning what he can do to make sure that he continues to improve each year.
“I like getting the opportunity to test all the hard work and effort that I’ve done with the animals throughout the year and see how I can do better and how much more I need to invest for next year,” said Lewis. “I like that there are opportunities for scholarships.”

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