Over 400 local students learned that big or small, work ethic, responsibility and time management pay off.

That was the theme as FFA chapters and 4-H clubs gathered at the Cherokee County Stock Show and Exposition Center in Jacksonville to compete in the 72nd annual Junior Livestock Show which ended Saturday.

Rusk junior Kara Wofford of Bluebonnet 4-H was ecstatic to win Grand Champion for her Barred Rocks trio.

“I’ve been in 4-H for nine years but have only been raising chickens for about a year, I was really excited because it’s my first-time showing chickens,” said Wofford. “I got to hatch my trio through the Hatch to Show Project through my club. I have shown rabbits since 7th grade and so I decided to try something new in addition to them this year.”

It’s students like Wofford who impress Bart Bauer, the board president of Cherokee County Stock Show and Expositions.

“This event is so important to our kids as is any county show in the nation. Having a project, large or small, teaches kids responsibility, work ethics and time management,” said Bauer. “I am not a big fan about ‘everyone’s a winner,’ but these exhibitors are successful just to make it to the county show.”

Bart said that in a typical year, the organization raises over $350,000 for the youth at the Cherokee County Junior Livestock Show and Sale live auction. They also award around $40,000 in scholarships.

Among Grand Champions were Edwin Sandoval of Jacksonville FFA for log sculpture, Delaney Taylor of Bullard FFA for swine barrow, Elijah Russell of Rusk FFA for poultry, Natalie Howell of Troup Young Farmers for rabbit, Claire Tipton of Rusk FFA for baked goods and Brendan Brown of Bullard FFA for photography, to name a few.

Rusk senior Elijah Russell was on hand to show his Broilers (judged on the breast quality), breeding chickens, and his beef cow. Russell, who is also the FFA Chapter President, said he got involved in FFA in 8th grade.

“I saw the opportunities it had given to other students and I enjoy learning new things each day that will help me in my future,” Russell said.

Organizations in attendance included Alto FFA, Bluebonnet 4-H, Cloverleaf 4-H, Bullard FFA, Jacksonville FFA, Lookout 4-H, New Summerfield FFA, New Summerfield 4-H, Rusk FFA, Troup FFA, Wells FFA and Wells 4-H.

Participants competed in animal categories such as swine, meat pen rabbits, poultry, dairy, rabbits, horses, goats, lambs, pen of commercial heifers and beef. Other categories included baked goods, photography, and horticulture.

The three-day event concluded on Saturday with a Buyers Appreciation Lunch sponsored by Austin Bank and The Expo Board of Directors, Queen’s Contest and awards followed by the Livestock sale.