TYLER, Texas (KETK) – The East Texas State Fair kicked off Friday where hundreds of students prepped their livestock in anticipation of winning ribbons, prizes, and a grand champion buckle.
Many parents and students enjoy the show as they are from the area and have friends and family who come out to support them.
“This is like coming home to a home show,” said John Price, parent. “I love the East Texas State Fair.”
Students showed their heifers on Saturday where more than 500 cattle filled the barns, some even stayed into Sunday where the steer and swine arrived competed.
While the eye was on the prize, students learn life skills along with showing including communication, sportsmanship, and dedication.
“It teaches them responsibility, it teaches them respect, dignity, I mean there’s so many things I could say about this show world,” said Price. “Learn to take care of your animals, in that same respect to me, those animals take care of my kids.
The students know that when they step in the show ring, it’s game time, but one student from Chapel Hill said her favorite part is spending time with her family.
“There’s a lot of things that go into it, but my favorite part is being around my family even though there is a lot of struggles and and a lot of stress put on it,” said Kara Pinkerton, Chapel Hill FFA student.”It’s super interesting to see how we work and how much we can get done in a certain amount of time.”
While showing livestock has its expenses, everyone has the opportunity to show and the East Texas State Fair gives multiple students the chance to show at a larger show against people across county lines.
“Alot of my kids, they don’t get to travel outside of just small jackpot shows and so bringing them here allows them to experience something different and allows them to get out of their comfort zone,” said Morgan Walker, Gladewater Ag Teacher. “And I think it gives back to the community of Tyler because it is a tradition and keeping it going, I mean it’s just my favorite show.”
A full schedule of the livestock events can be found HERE.
Along with livestock, the East Texas State Fair offers scholarships to students who participate in their Academic Rodeo that happens in the spring.
Since 1992, the East Texas State Fair has awarded $877,000 in academic scholarships to students across East Texas. $41,000 worth of scholarships were awarded in 2018 alone.
For more information on the East Texas State Fair Scholarship, click HERE.
The East Texas State Fair started in 1855 in Starrville. The fair moved to its current location in 1912 where it has been held every year except between 1941-1948 during WWII.
The entire plot of land for the East Texas State Fair, the Rose Stadium, and the Tyler Rose Garden was purchased by the city for $4,500 on July 8, 1912.