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Students do double duty during fair week

High school students from throughout Roosevelt County will be busy with classes, books and homework assignments next week.

Some will also have another item to worry about — having their livestock animals in top condition for the livestock junior shows at the Roosevelt County Fair, which begins on Wednesday.

For Portales students, school begins on Friday, but after the weekend is over the students will be busy taking care of the animals for the show.

“A lot of kids have summer jobs as well as take care of their animals,” said Jerry Faver, who teaches agriculture along with Bill Graham at Portales High School. “It (raising animals) teaches kids responsibility and builds character. They realize the animals depend on them.”

Wednesday is the day the fair is officially open. However, those participating in the livestock junior competitions will have to have all of their animals, including poultry and rabbits, entered and on the grounds by Tuesday.

Faver said many of the students will then participate in the New Mexico State Fair in Albuquerque, followed by the Eastern New Mexico Fair in Roswell during the month of September. Throughout, school, football and volleyball will be going on for the students as well.

“We have a really good rapport with coaches,” Faver said. “They understand when some of their players are in judging contests and we understand when they are in practices and games. We work together and students learn to balance their activities.

“This is the first year the fair will take place during school. There’s speculation about all of the things going on affecting their academics, but I think they’ll do great. They will make spare time for academics. Our (agriculture) students are above average in academics.”

Roosevelt County Fairboard Secretary Jana Roberts said she helps with entries and enters in fair results. She is also a bookkeeper for the Creighton Town and Country feed dealer.

“I see some of the kids come into the store when their animals are small, looking to treat them when they’re sick,” Roberts said. “They are excited when they first get the animals. It’s fulfilling for them (kids) to take care of their animals and do well at the fair.”

Roberts said she’s been helping with the fair for more than 10 years and during that time she has been involved with the fair and attending the fair.

“Sometimes you get attached with the animals and emotions are involved,” Roberts said. “They (participants) know it’s a market animal from the get-go, but it doesn’t make it easier to sell them.”

Floyd Agriculture Education Instructor Jim Daugherty said the top winners of the show competitions are the animals sold during the Junior Livestock sale. The Junior Livestock shows will take place Wednesday and Thursday of next week. The junior livestock sale will take place at the show arena on Friday at 6 p.m.

“The students will buy their steer in September and raise them all year,” Daugherty said. “They buy lambs and pigs in April and raise them during the spring and summer. They need to feed their animals early in the morning when it is cool. It’s time-consuming and a lot of dedication goes into it.”

Some of the Floyd students who will enter animals in the livestock shows are: Jewlie, Kody, Brandi and Sixto Paiz; Darcee, Chay and Chet Chenault; Brook Reed; Adam and Brittney Burns. Daugherty said once the fair begins, it doesn’t mean the work is over for the participants.

“It’s not all fun and games at the fair for them,” Daugherty said. “They have fun at the fair, but they still have to take care of the animals. They do have a great time and it allows them to showcase their animals after all the hard work they have put into it.”

Roberts said the junior livestock sale is a premium sale and the participants who have livestock in the sale are able to get more money than market value.

“They’re (participants) respectful to showers, buyers and everyone they come in contact with,” Roberts said. “You see a cycle (over the years) of people who showed animals and now their kids are showing animals in the same event. You see the families going strong in one species.”