By Lora Scripps
Two Limestone County students recently competed and placed in the Alabama Junior Beef Exposition Showmanship Contest in Montgomery. Jacob Lovell placed fourth in the junior division and Ashlyn Ruf took second place within the intermediate division.
Officials said blue vests and big smiles filled the Ed Teague Arena this month as more than 150 young people competed in the contest.
The event, sponsored by Alfa Insurance and the Alabama Farmers Federation, was a competition where students groomed and showed heifers and steers of various sizes, breeds and colors.
Judge Deb Core, a resident of Pleasantville, Iowa, was happy with how the young Alabama showmen led their calves around the ring.
“This is my first trip to Alabama, and I don’t know what I expected, but competition is alive and well here,” she said. “You have done an outstanding job preparing your calves, and it shows.”
The showmanship classes were part of the Southeastern Livestock Exposition, which included the State Steer Show.
Champion exhibitors at the Alabama Junior Beef Expo were Connor Moore of Chambers County in the junior division, Clay Tew of Dale County in the intermediate division and Reid McGuire of Lee County in the senior division. Each received $600 in prize money. Reserve champions in each division received $400.
Federation President Jimmy Parnell said sponsoring programs like the calf show is at the heart of the organization’s mission.
“Seeing all these young people with their families and knowing they are interested enough to be here is encouraging,” he said. “There are a lot of good things young people can be involved in, but we need to provide all the encouragement we can to those interested in agriculture.
“These students are the future of our state and our organization,” he added. “Twenty years from now, they will be the leaders of our state and leaders of our farming community.”
— Mary Johnson, director of news services for Alabama Farmers Federation, contributed to this article.