For several dozen area youths, Sunday's 4-H/FFA Youth Livestock Show started a week of livestock competitions that culminate a year of work with their animals.
The competitions are being held at the fairgrounds in conjunction with the Jefferson City Jaycees Cole County Fair.
On Sunday, 29 goats (10 breeding, 10 dairy and nine market goats) were shown, in addition to 52 sheep.
The livestock show benefits the youths by gaining experience with public speaking and associating with other youths who do the same thing, said Martha Cowherd, youth program assistant with Cole County Extension.
"It also teaches them responsibility, reliability, time management and food management for the animals themselves," she said.
Competitors are allowed to show up to two market animals, but as many breeding animals as they want.
Clara Lackman, 15, showed two breeding ewes and a market lamb.
She's been showing lambs for several years and pigs before that.
She's always been around livestock, growing up in a family that owns cows, horses, chickens and sheep.
She works with her animals daily.
"I like just coming out and seeing all my friends, getting to compete with other people who have been working hard," she said. "I like seeing the end result for all my hard work with my sheep."
Abe Carrender, 15, showed two breeding ewes and two market ewes Sunday. It was his first year showing sheep, but he's shown cattle since age 8.
His family owns a third-generation farm in Cole County, and he expects to be involved in farming/agriculture for a living as well.
"I enjoy working with them every day and showing them," he said. "You get to show with your friends and hang out with your friends."
Today's 4-H/FFA events are as follows:
7 a.m. — Arrival/check-in (until 10 a.m.)
7 a.m. — Bucket calf arrival
8 a.m. — Bucket calf check-in
9:15 a.m. — Exhibitor meeting
9:30 a.m. — Bucket Calf Show (4-H Bucket Calf Project members only)
1 p.m. — Breeding Swine Show
6 p.m. — Breeding Beef Show
The full fair starts today, with the carnival, arena events, food stands and other activities. Carnival rides are $1 today, and today is the only day of the fair with free admission.