Agriland Farm Credit will hold a stuffed baked potato lunch for the youth participants on Monday, while Triple S Cowboy Church will feed the exhibitors breakfast on Tuesday.
Madison Gas is providing the buyers barbecue on Thursday night, while Red Dawg Rentals will feed the kids grilled hamburgers on sale night.
“We have such wonderful participants and sponsors from the area,” Bennett said. “They really do support the kids.”
Many of the youth exhibitors take care of the animals they plan to show before and after school, feeding and grooming them sometimes for several months.
“It gives kids something to do and keeps them busy and out of trouble, as well as teaching them responsibilities and the importance of having goals,” Bennett said.
This year the number of scholarship applicants skyrocketed.
“I have more scholarship applications than I have ever had,” Bennett said. “And we have some of the most qualified kids we have ever seen — they certainly have the backing for the applications.”
Community service plays a big role in the scholarship applications.
“We ask what community service they have done. We like for them to come work at our crawfish boil (the annual crawfish boil is held on the first Saturday of May and raises money for scholarships), work at the rodeo and in the concession stand during the livestock show,” Bennett said.
For many exhibitors, the money they raise through scholarships and the sale of their animals while in school can pay for their college.
“Former local 4-H extension agent Christine Greer graduated from Texas A&M. She used to say she paid for her education with chickens,” Bennett said. “A lot of kids will save money through the years from showing animals so they can use it for college.”
Another example of a homegrown success from the livestock show is the ACYLA's auctioneer Bret Richards.