By MATTHEW WEAVER
Some 600 youths participating in the Spokane Junior Livestock Show arrived at the Spokane County Fairgrounds May 1 to display the animals they have raised and, hopefully, make some money.
The show is designed to provide agriculture education for youths, enabling them to raise, show and sell their cattle, hogs, goats and sheep.
"It's their livelihood," show manager Lynn Cotter said. "These kids are making it their business of raising this livestock."
The show comes down to marketing the animals during the sale, Cotter said.
"We all want that purple ribbon in the class, but those dollars and cents at the end of the day make the project worthwhile," she said.
Rosalia, Wash., High School junior Clay Shelton said he's been in the show since he was in fourth grade.
"It's a good project to do," he said. "It keeps you going, keeps you busy."
Shelton was hoping for about $2,200 apiece for the two steers he raised during the past year. That amount would allow him to break even.
Odessa, Wash., ninth-grader Max Greenwalt has shown livestock before. He also shows at the Lincoln County Fair, but enjoys getting farther away from home and showing against more people.
Greenwalt was showing a blue roan steer, which he intends to sell at the Lincoln County fair in the fall. He estimated his costs will be about $1,800.
"My favorite part is probably bringing them to show," he said. "It's the finish of the year, you get to see what the outcome of all your hard work is."
It is the first year showing for Bradyn Wegner, a ninth-grader from Medical Lake, Wash., but she's participated in the event before with her sisters.
Wegner spent about six months and about $2,800 raising her Angus steer, Brock. She hoped to make about $1.80 to $2 per pound at the livestock show sale.
Wegner's favorite aspect is showmanship.
"It's judged on you and not the steer," she said.
"It's a great growth process for the kids to go through," Bradyn's father, Mark Wegner, said. "The amount of time they spend, the effort they put in and the discipline to know they've got to get up and take care of (their animals)."