By Sean Wardwell
Killeen Daily Herald
Saturday was the final day of Killeen's Junior Livestock Show - a 50-plus year tradition that brought out nearly 95 participants and 100,000 attendees during a four-day period.
"I think we had an absolutely wonderful show this year," said Joe Daggs, who sits on the show's board of directors. "I've watched this show evolve over the years into what you see today."
Saturday's auction raised $155,565 between the actual auction amount of $121,300 and add-on funds of $34,265 by schools and businesses - an increase over last year's auction total of $149,075.
"We had a really good sale today," said Brent Bliton, board chairman.
Scholarships were awarded Saturday, as well. Brooklynn Knudesen, an 18-year-old senior at Florence High School, received a $1,000 scholarship in the name of Newell Reavis, who was instrumental in organizing the livestock show.
She said she was awarded the scholarship based on her 10-year participation in the show, an interview and her academic record.
"I'm very happy about it," she said. "The money will go toward my degree at Texas Tech University, where I'll be studying meat production. I'm very sad this is my last year, but it's been great."
Daggs said one thing that stood out to him this year was how diverse the show is becoming.
"I'm a lifetime resident of Killeen and I've been a part of this show for many years," he said. "As our city becomes more diverse, so has our show. We're getting more and more kids. It's also becoming more urban."
Daggs, who also is a pastor of a "cowboy church," added that local schools have helped by allowing students who don't live in rural areas keep their animals in livestock barns on campus.
"It allows these kids to keep their animals as part of their school projects and not have to live on a farm," he said.
Now, the board will get a 45-day break before beginning to plan next year's show. Daggs said the time is needed to tally up how this year's show went and distribute auction money to the participants.
But to Daggs, the show just isn't about the cattle or the skills needed to take care of animals; it brings hope.
"We hear day-in and day-out, through various media outlets, about the trouble children and our society are in," he said. "But, when you come out here and spend four days with these kids, you figure out it's not all trouble. There's lots of great kids out there doing great things."
Contact Sean Wardwell at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7552.