OYE Architect and Long-Time Board Member Jimmy Harrell Reflects on How Far the Show Has ComeFri, 09 Mar 2018 16:00:57 CST
Jimmy Harrell of the Bank of Western Oklahoma, has been around a long time, in regard to the Oklahoma Youth Expo. Since 2003, when the Oklahoma State Fair relinquished the event, Harrell has served on the board that has kept the nation’s largest junior livestock show alive and developed it into what it is today. Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays had the chance to catch up with Harrell this week at OYE, to talk about his involvement and how the show has grown since its infancy. Listen to their complete conversation by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below at the bottom of the page.
“It’s an amazing thing,” Harrell said nostalgically. “I’ve been coming ever since I was a young man showing. When I was showing, I didn’t have enough money to buy a good steer, I was just fortunate to get to come and be a part of it.”
A lot has changed since Harrell’s showing days - most of all probably the Grand Drive now a marvel for attendees from all over the country. Harrell shared his memories on how the Grand Drive we have today at OYE came about.
“Our Grand Drive is one that everyone all over the nation enjoys. There’s nothing like it,” he proudly said, sharing how it began with his wife’s idea to bring the winners of the steer show in with the Express Ranches Clydesdales. Then Executive Director Justin Whitefield who oversaw the hog show, he says, was so jealous he wanted in on the idea and merged the individual drives into one multi-species event. “It wasn’t something we sat down and thought out, it just evolved by competition among ourselves.”
This year had a record number of entries and about equal quantities of both market and breeding animals.
“It is incredible. It takes in every county in the state,” Harrell said. “When we took it over, we said we we’re going to be friendly to the ag teacher, friendly to the county agent, friendly to the exhibitors, their parents and their grandparents where they could come here and enjoy it and not be something they dreaded.”
Harrell thanked the legislators and sponsors he credited with saving the show more than a decade ago, and continue to support it. He says they were gifted with the foresight to see how bad the show was needed for our youth in agriculture and helped many times, in many ways to raise the money needed to keep it going.
Our Coverage of the 2018 Oklahoma Youth Expo is once again a service of ITC Great Plains, Your Energy Superhighway- learn more about this high voltage, transmission only utility and their commitment to the communities they serve which is the cornerstone of their business-click here for their website.
Reports will be heard daily on great radio stations that cover Oklahoma and that are a part of the Radio Oklahoma Ag Network- on the internet- our reports of the 2018 OYE can be found on the Blue Green Gazette page- available here. We will be adding pictures daily to our official 2018 OYE Album of Photos on FLICKR, found here.
For more information about the Oklahoma Youth Expo, click here for the home page of the OYE website.
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