Oklahoma Youth Expo
The Oklahoma Youth Expo was a phenomenal event to say the least! As a result of my application to the Summer Synergy Setting Sails program, I was awarded this trip to attend the world's largest youth show, the Oklahoma Youth Expo. The lovely Tracy Gardner and I flew down for a whirlwind four days at the OYE and touring a little bit of Oklahoma!
The OYE offers large shows for cattle, hogs, sheep, and goats. 4-H and FFA presence is strong and the eager showmen and women are nothing short of dedicated and driven. We were able to take in the Prospect Steer Futurity Sale; steer, lamb, whether, and barrow shows; Master of Showmanship competition; and the Grand Drive!
While we were in the great OK state we met up with "Coach" Doug Sauter, originally from Canada, and were taken on a fantastic tour of the Oklahoma National Stockyards and Stockyard City. Doug also took us out through the town of Yukon, OK (birthplace of the great Garth Brooks). We finished off our tour at the truly awesome Express Ranches. This, being my first time to Oklahoma, was also my first time to see the famed Express Ranches in person. Express Ranches is the number one seedstock operation in the United States of America with ten properties totaling 200,000 acres. The ranch is home to some of the very best Angus, Limousin, and LimFlex genetics and remarkable sale, embryo transfer, and show preparation facilities.
We ran into a couple of other notable Canadians while stateside including Rosie Templeton and Crystal Blin of http://crystalcattle.blogspot.ca/ - it's always nice to meet up with Canadians that are making their mark on the US agriculture industry!
As we took in the Grand Drive on our final evening at the OYE a comment from steer show judge, Jack Ward, really hit home for Tracy and myself, "Never let the livestock get bigger than the kids." This trip was an incredible experience and I will be forever grateful for the opportunities the Summer Synergy program has given me! After seeing the OYE I feel extremely proud and excited about the commendable job that Tracy and her team do of putting on a truly prestigeous and progressive youth livestock program right here at home!