Months of work and preparation, a week’s worth of events, and it’s now “show time” at the Navarro County Youth Expo.
The annual steak lunch and project auction gets underway at noon Saturday at the Youth Exposition Building. Over 200 livestock projects will go on auction starting at 2 p.m. as family, friends, business and industry turn out to reward the youth of Navarro County for their efforts in the annual livestock sale.
A silent auction of food and arts and crafts entries will take place during the steak lunch, which begins at noon at the Expo barn.
Just prior to the premium sale, a number of awards and special recognitions are planned to pay tribute to students and volunteers who have made the Youth Expo the focus of a week-long event now in its 55th year.
The week leading up to Saturday’s sale has been a good one in the eyes of Youth Expo co-chairs Vicki Arnett and Jeff Nelson, in the first year of a two-year run heading up the Youth Expo.
“I think it’s gone wonderful,” said Arnett. “It’s one of the best Expos we’ve had in a long time.”
Arnett credits that to a lot of great kids, great families, and great sponsors, she added.
From an execution standpoint, virtually every event held at “the barn” has gone off without a hitch — although those involved in Thursday’s steer show did do some extra duty chasing down a few loose steers. Blame that on the weather, the judge said.
Community involvement is also a key in this year’s success, added Nelson.
“The people that have spent their time and donated money and resources this week, along with the quality of kids we’ve had this week is just incredible,” he said.
Among the people that have spent time at the barn this year are some “new” faces as well, along with those who continue to give of their time year after year.
“We’re appreciative of them all, but we always try to include new people, too,” Nelson said.
And they’ve come forward in numbers that have made a difference, helping with the smooth week the Expo has seen.
Saturday’s big sale also includes the debut of a new “JumboTron” television screen, provided courtesy of OnCor, giving those in the barn the biggest, brightest view ever via closed circuit television.
The sale, which brought in excess of $425,000 last year, is set to launch at 2 p.m. Saturday.
Lance Waggoner, who’s spent dozens of hours this week announcing shows as well as overseeing the sale, said they’re expecting another banner year in the auction.
“I think it’s shaping up very well,” he said. “We’ve been making some contacts and people are donating money for the ‘pot’ to help with animal purchases,” he said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if we hit $450,000 this year.”
That would be another new record for the Youth Expo sale, but are they looking at even more in the future? Maybe $500,000 — a half-million?
“Next year,” Waggoner said immediately. “I’ve got word from the top.”
“It will happen, with a lot of hard work,” Nelson added. “That is a personal goal of mine — we’re going to hit that half a million mark, we hope next year.”
While the week is indeed a lot of hard work for all concerned, it’s work that’s well worth it, Arnett said.
“The one little kid that says ‘thank you’ or the one mother that says ‘thank you’ ... I think you forget how tired you are until Monday,” she said.
“It’s been one of the most rewarding weeks of my life,” said Nelson.
The Daily Sun will provide coverage of Saturday’s sale via Facebook and Twitter, and will have complete sales results posted on our online newspaper Saturday evening.
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Youth Expo Lunch and Sale
Lunch starts at noon, sale at 2 p.m. in the Expo Barn on West Highway 22.
The Daily Sun will be updating the sale results on Facebook and Twitter throughout the afternoon.
Look for the complete story online Saturday and in the Tuesday print edition of the Daily Sun.