Oklahoma Youth Expo Celebrates 100 Years of ProgressThu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:33 CDT
The Oklahoma Youth Expo is celebrating its 100th Anniversary. OYE Executive Director Tyler Norvell said the show started in 1915 as the American Southwest Livestock Show, which was mainly for adults. At the time there was a livestock show in Wichita, Kansas and in Fort Worth, Texas. He said the Oklahoma City Chamber leaders decided Oklahoma City needed a show that exhibitors could show at on their way to Texas. This was one way the city could show their support to the state’s agricultural industry and it would be an economic boost to Oklahoma City. Norvell said to this day the Oklahoma City Chamber continues to support the event.
“They knew what they were doing back then, because today we’ll have 50-thousand people plus, have a $25-million dollar economic impact on Oklahoma City,” Norvell said. “There’s not many events that come to Oklahoma City that have that impact, I really can’t think of another one besides us, that’s that big.”
Radio Oklahoma Network Farm Director Ron Hays interviewed Norvell. To listen to the interview, click or tap on the LISTENBAR below.
In the 1930’s there was a fire in the Coliseum and it burnt down. With limited space, Norvell said the show leadership decided only the youth would show that year and from that point forward it has been exclusively a junior livestock show.
In the fall of 2002, the Oklahoma Youth Expo nonprofit organization was formed. The first show OYE put on was in the spring of 2003. Norvell said in becoming a nonprofit organization that has given the show a lot of flexibility and opportunities in terms of fundraising. He said they are proud of the emphasis the show puts on the youth as well as the sponsors that support the show.
“That’s why without sponsors and of course without volunteers, you don’t have a stock show,” Norvell said.
This event continues to grow every year. At the first show in 2015, Norvell said they awarded $2,000 in premiums. In 1965, the show celebrated its 50th Anniversary. He said from 1915 to 1965 the show awarded a total of $2 million dollars over 50 years.
“This year we’re going to hand out $2 million dollars this year alone,” Norvell said. “That kind of shows how much it has grown and how it has improved over the years.”
A century later, Norvell said the program sells itself. Sponsors come to them to support the event because of the skills, work ethic, integrity and teamwork that is taught through raising livestock.
“There’s not many programs today where a young person has to put another living life in front of their own, a breathing animal,” Norvell said. “That animal’s life is just as important as theirs and they have to care for it, feed it, tend to it no matter what the weather is, no matter what their schedule is and that teaches life skills first hand.”
Tyler will also be joining Ron for his weekly In the Field report on KWTV News9 in the Oklahoma City market on Saturday morning at 6:40 AM.
Our Coverage of the 2015 Oklahoma Youth Expo is 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. We also salute the title sponsor of the 2015 OYE, McDonalds- click here for the Oklahoma website for the Golden Arches.
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 2015 OYE can be found on the Blue Green Gazette page- available here. We will be adding pictures daily to our official 2015 OYE Album of Photos on FLICKR, found here.
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