Split animal shows working well, say exhibitors and fair organizers

Thursday, September 16, 2010
Jacob Buell, center, and Logan Birk, right, lead their steers around the arena during Class 3 steer judging at the Livestock Show Arena during the SEMO District Fair on Wednesday in Cape Girardeau.
KRISTIN EBERTS
keberts@semissourian.com

More than 2,000 animals will be shown throughout this year's SEMO District Fair, giving attendees the chance to see livestock every day of the event.

Lawrence McBryde, co-chairman of the fair's livestock support committee, said for the second year the fair has used the split show format, allowing exhibitors to show their animals either Saturday through Monday or Tuesday through Saturday. In the past, animals were only at the fair on certain days, leaving guests who came on off days without the opportunity to see horses, cows and other livestock.

McBryde said the concept has been popular with guests and exhibitors alike and has resulted in more animals being shown for the past two years.

"It works well. People have access to animals all week. Exhibitors seem to like it because they can spend less time at the fair and spend less money while they are exhibiting. We did see an increase in entries when we went to the split show," he said.

Mike Hayley of Snowy River Charolais in Sedgewickville, Mo., said he has been showing at the fair for 25 years and enjoys the flexibility of the split show format.

"It helps. It works out better," he said.

This year he is showing eight of his Charolais cattle at the fair and estimates he will feed each of them between 20 and 30 pounds of food a day. Exhibitors like Hayley are responsible for feeding their own animals. The only exception is poultry, which consists of more than 800 chickens, ducks, geese and other birds. McBryde said there are too many entries in the category to accommodate individual exhibitors feeding their livestock. The fair, with help from Buchheit, provides more than 2,000 pounds of poultry feed during the week of the fair.

With that many animals living together for several days, cleanup is an issue. McBryde said fair personnel cleaned the bedding and stall areas in between the exhibitor shift change Tuesday, but the day-to-day cleaning is the responsibility of the exhibitor.

"We give them enough bedding so when their animal makes a mess, they can take care of it," he said.

With the large number of animals at the fair, he said there was no way to estimate how many pounds of animal waste is disposed of throughout the week.

McBryde said the number of entries this year is consistent with 2009 and that most of the exhibitors come from Missouri and Illinois. He said the fair does have more of an "urban showing" this year among entries. He said people who do not live on a farm will often show lambs and goats, which do not require as much acreage as cattle or horses.

cbartholomew@semissourian.com

243-8600

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