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Posted: February 8, 2014 10:00 p.m.

Good food, free admission on tap at livestock show

Do not despair!

You haven’t made reservations or romantic plans for next weekend’s Valentine’s Day holiday?

Maybe you’re short on cash and need a fun, alternative date idea?

Better yet, you need a family-friendly option because all the baby sitters are taken.

Congratulations: This column grants you free entry to the Newton Classic Livestock Show at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 15!

That’s right; everyone always says they miss the livestock at the "real local fair," so here’s your last chance this season to see our local fourth-to-twelfth-graders in action as they face off in weight class and showmanship with their hogs, heifers, steers and lambs.

These young men and women have worked hard over the past year to raise and train their animals, and have honed their showmanship skills throughout the past several months at shows throughout the state.

They represent elementary, middle and high schools, as well as one private school in our county.

They also represent two of the best known youth organizations: 4-H and FFA. The show begins at 10 a.m. at the Newton County College & Career Academy livestock barn. From Brown Bridge, turn onto Ram Drive and go straight through the four-way stop (after stopping, of course; don’t blame your tickets on me), and wind around to the barn . (This is beside the old Newton High.)

Don’t be late, or you’ll miss out on welcoming remarks from local education officials. Then we’ll move into the showmanship and weight classes. For each type of animal owned, youths compete at least twice. Each youth competes once in showmanship, vying for the coveted belt buckles. First-time showmen are competing for one buckle, with veterans competing for another buckle.

In showmanship, youths are measured on their skills presenting the animal to the judge, and how well they seem to work with the animal.

In weight classes, youths compete with each animal they own against similar-sized animals, building up to a final drive with the top animals in that species.

Youths have also completed record books about each animal raised, with prizes being awarded in that section of the competition on Saturday as well.

All classes award ribbons and cash prizes.

Youths use this opportunity as one last chance to prepare for the state show in Perry later this month.

You don’t have to worry about making reservations—the best lunch in town on Saturday can be found at the concession stand at the show. Delicious food, great prices, and all profits benefit the livestock show.

Finally, you can also join the fun by competing in the Old Timer’s Show following the end of youth competition. (Disclaimer: The name of this particular competition does not reflect on the age of the competitors.)

Livestock projects teach responsibility and dedication, as well as helping to preserve a bit of agriculture that so many of our youths never experience today.

More than 100 local businesses and families contributed financially to the show, and we are appreciative of all their support, especially in such tight economic times.

The FFA advisers from each school, agricultural county agent Ted Wynne, and I have worked hard on the show and with our youths to make this a great event.

To summarize, I’m offering a free afternoon at the barn, a bargain lunch, and you’ll be supporting local youths in the process. How can you pass on this deal?

(P.S. You don’t really need this column to get free entry, but we’d love to know that you came because of the column!)

Terri Kimble Fullerton is a Newton County 4-H Agent through UGA Cooperative Extension. She can be reached at tkimble@uga.edu.

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