For most students spring break is a week away from homework and time for some much needed relaxation, but for 4-H and FFA members in Oklahoma, spring break means one thing – the Oklahoma Youth Expo.
OYE is recognized as the largest youth event in the state of Oklahoma. The livestock show brings over 7,000 exhibitors along with their educators and families from all of Oklahoma's 77 counties. Over the course of the ten-day event, OYE has a $24 million impact on Oklahoma City.
Although the excitement of OYE may seem like it is coming from all the exhibitors, the exposition also gets the okPORK office energized for the ten-day event. There are several ways okPORK gets involved and most of the staff is able to get in on the action one way or the other.
Livestock Show and Sale of Champions
Cattle, goats and sheep are some of the livestock that are exhibited at OYE, but the toughest ring of all is getting through the sift ring with gilts and barrows. There is no doubt ever swine showman wants to make it out in the “big ring” for a chance at making top ten in class and to possibly hear okPORK executive director Roy Lee Lindsey announce their name as a class winner and champion contender over the loud speaker.
Lindsey spends each day of OYE sitting at the top of the swine show ring helping the keep the show moving, organized and in working order. Lindsey also serves as a member of the Swine Committee where he assists in class breaks and organizing the Sale of Champions order.
okPORK also supported the purebred gilt show by presenting scholarships to the breed champions and reserves.
The Sale of Champions is what each of these exhibitors work for and hope to make. However, only 211 kids of the 7,000 qualify to partake in the Sale of Champions. This year’s sale grossed a record number at $1.3 million – all of which goes to the exhibitors. okPORK was fortunate enough to support Oklahoma FFA and 4-H members buy purchasing their barrows in the Sale of Champions.
Pork Chop Shop
State fair and OYE are the only times people get to experience the Pork Chop Shop. Fortunately, exhibitors and their families can enjoy this experience for the entire duration of the livestock show. Pork burgers, pulled pork and of course the famous pork chop sandwich were offered all day to visitors and if you were not hungry, a person could get a caffeine fix or hydrate for the day. We also sold “You Had Me at Bacon” t-shirts this year, all of which were a hit!
The Pork Chop Shop always has something got everyone, so in the future if you find yourself at OYE or State Fair make sure you stop by and grab something to eat or drink!
Legislative Showmanship Contest
Another event that gets exhibitors and in this case legislators excited is the Legislative Showmanship Contest which brings more than 80 of or state legislators into the arena. Several exhibitors from across the state received letters before OYE telling them that they were invited to participate in Legislative Showmanship. Each of the legislators are paired with an exhibitor who helps them understand how to properly show the animal and why it is important to do so. While most legislators take to it quickly and learn how to accurately navigate and drive the hogs, some were simply just following their pigs in circles. Cade Leonard, OYE exhibitor and past YLC attendee, was one of the young instructors attempting to show his selected legislator how to show his barrow.