The sounds of shears buzzing, hoof clippers snipping and the slopping of soap-filled buckets are sure to bring alive the St. Mary's County Fairgrounds in Leonardtown, as children and youth from around Southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore gather to prepare their animals to compete in two full days of shows and demonstrations at the second annual Southern Maryland Invitational Livestock Expo (SMILE) on July 8 and 9.
More than a Livestock Show this year's event includes a Dog Show, and educational games; a unique combination that show organizers developed to offer area youth an opportunity to showcase their animals, and their skills and talents in an atmosphere that fosters inter-county relationships and promotes an appreciation for our area's agricultural heritage.
"Most Jackpot shows feature one species," said Jay Farrell, "SMILE" Chairman, "this show is unlike them, and includes all species," he said. "There are various Jackpot Shows throughout the state, however there are only a few kids from the Southern Maryland area that participate. Having a show locally gives our kids a chance to compete without the additional expense of traveling long distances," he added.
The winning of a champion ribbon is the culmination of many months, and often years of meticulous preparation. There's a lot of hard work involved to raise and present animals for the show ring. The daily management of health, grooming, nutrition, and breeding programs requires serious dedication, and you may be surprised to learn demands an amazing variety of skills ranging from public speaking, book keeping, report writing, team management and much more. "The enthusiastic example set by these youngsters, together with their earnest professionalism is a powerful role model for area youth considering agricultural or farm related careers," commented Christine Bergmark, Executive Director of the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission of the Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland. Main sponsor of the show, the Commission is dedicated to promote diverse, market driven agricultural enterprises. Other sponsors include Colonial Farm Credit, and Hill Farm.
The Southern Maryland Invitational Livestock Expo offers premium prizes across all breed classes as well as fitting and showing for steers, heifers, hogs, sheep and goats. An exciting new addition this year is the Dog Show, which features fitting and showing and obedience classes for mixed breed and unregistered dogs.
"We hope this show will become an popular annual event; it's a wonderful chance to give young people an opportunity to show their animals, be with youth who have the same interests and to learn from being together." "We hope the general public will stop by for a while to support our youngsters and enjoy the animals," Farrell said. The Livestock Expo is open to the public and admission is free. Various classes are scheduled throughout the two days commencing with opening remarks at 10:20 am on Saturday, July 8, followed immediately by goat, swine and beef shows. Sheep and remaining livestock classes start at 9 am Sunday, July 9 with Dog Show classes commencing at 10 am.
For more information about show, call the "SMILE" Chair Jay Farrell (301) 884-3334.
TENTATIVE SCHEDULE - SATURDAY, JULY 8
6:30 am - 9:00 am
Check-in / Registration
Weigh-in - Sheep/Goats (Sheep & Goat Barn)
Weigh-in - Swine (Beef Barn)
Weigh-in - Steers
Jay Farrell, Expo Chairman
Christine Bergmark, Executive Director, Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission
Fitting & Showing Meat Goats (Sheep Ring)
Meat Goat Breeding (Sheep Ring)
Market Goat (Sheep Ring)
Fitting & Showing Swine (Beef Ring)
Swine Breeding (Beef Ring)
Fitting & Showing Beef (Beef Ring)
Beef Breeding (Beef Ring)
Wheelbarrow Race (Horse Ring)
Tug of War (Horse Ring)
Livestock Jeopardy (Auditorium)
7:00 - 10:00 pm
Dance / Social (Beef Ring)
SCHEDULE - Sunday, JULY 9
Market Swine (Beef Ring)
Fitting & Showing Dairy Goat (Sheep Ring)
Dairy Show (Sheep Ring)
Market Beef (Beef Ring)
Beef Breeding (Beef Ring) if not completed by Saturday
Fitting & Showing Sheep (Sheep Ring)
Sheep Breeding (Sheep Ring)
Market Sheep (Sheep Ring)