Tyler Norvell Previews the 2019 Oklahoma Youth Expo- Start to Finish as Young People and Their Animals ArriveWed, 13 Mar 2019 06:52:52 CDT
Spring Break is just around the corner which means it is that time again for 4-H and FFA students to converge on Oklahoma City for “ten days of organized chaos” as Executive Director of the Oklahoma Youth Expo Tyler Norvell puts it. The event will kick-off this Thursday, during which more than 7,000 Oklahoma agricultural education students will come together to participate in the world’s largest junior livestock show at its home at the Oklahoma City State Fairgrounds. According to Norvell in an interview this week ahead of the event’s commencement with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays, participation in OYE continues to grow - as does every facet associated with the show.
You can hear Norvell’s complete breakdown of the 2019 edition of the OYE in his full interview with Hays, by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below at the bottom of the page.
“Not only have our entries grown, but the number of our exhibitors continues to grow, too. That lets us know we’re providing a product people want to be a part of,” Norvell said. “I budget and expect for numbers to be even or down and every year they just continue to grow and that’s very exciting.”
What makes OYE so exciting for Oklahoma’s youth, though, is how many different opportunities the show offers for them to compete and succeed in. One of the show’s most unique feature is its Night of Stars Gilt Sale held in Barn 8 on Wednesday night (March 20) where the youth who have raised premier show stock can showcase and sell their animals to eager buyers from across the country. This show has grown rapidly and yielded tremendous results. Norvell reports that over the past four years, this sale has sent Oklahoma swine genetics to more than 15 states and grossed roughly $400,000 each year. Interested in participating? OYE offers potential buyers to watch and engage in the sale in person, online and over the phone - click here for details.
Prior to the Night of Stars, OYE this year will welcome 100 of Oklahoma’s 149 state legislators on Tuesday evening to participate in the annual Legislative Show, where state policymakers show livestock alongside youth exhibitors from their home districts. Norvell says that with “more than 60 new faces at the state legislature this year, it is vital we get them out here.”
Oklahoma Beef Council Spokesman Steven Adams of the OKC Thunder is also scheduled to make a special appearance this year on Tuesday, March 19 for a meet and greet with exhibitors. If that is not enough to entice every student in the state to attend, Norvell says the returning Skillathon should. This is a free competition open to all students who compete for $15,000 in scholarships using their knowledge of livestock care and handling. The addition of this contest, Norvell says, eliminates any excuse for students not to join in the fun and comradery of OYE.
As the week progresses, exhibitors, family members and spectators will all be looking forward to the show’s main event - the Grand Drive. This will happen on the evening of Thursday, March 21 in the Oklahoma State Fair Arena during which the champions of this year’s show will be selected. In addition, Norvell invites everyone to join the crowd gathered there for a special announcement that will be made at approximately 5:30 p.m., prior to evening’s events. This event is open and free to the public.
Most impressive about the show is the financial impact it has. 2002 was the last year the show was under the banner of the Spring Livestock Show, during which only one $1,000 scholarship was presented. This year, 150 scholarships will be awarded totaling $300,000. Furthermore, the city of Oklahoma City itself benefits, too, with the show reportedly generating an annual economic impact of $25 million. According to Norvell, OYE can no longer be considered just a livestock show - it is an “event.” The magnitude of this show is truly realized at the closing attraction, the Sale of Champions held that Friday, March 22. Last year, the OYE saw its greatest year to date with a total $1.3 million raised for the top placing exhibitors. Norvell says he fully expects another strong turn out this year, anticipating 2019’s sale to again exceed $1 million.
This year, the show has again seen livestock entries continue to expand. Gilts this year are up by 400 head; barrows up 700; heifers increased by a couple hundred head and steers have climbed by 70. Once again, this year’s show will begin on Thursday, March 14 with the commercial gilt show, followed by the purebred gilt show on Friday. Does will also arrive this weekend, with the heifer show commencing Sunday alongside the first sheep to show as well. On Monday, the market animals of all species will arrive at the show. The full show schedule, details and more information are available on the OYE website.
Our Coverage of the 2019 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 2019 OYE can be found on the Blue Green Gazette page- available here. We will be adding pictures daily to our official 2019 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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