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County Livestock Show has long history

By Mack Heald

The month of January is the beginning of the winter stock show season in Texas. Statewide this has occurred for more than 100 years with the Southwestern Exposition in Ft. Worth being the oldest major show beginning in 1896.

In January 2013, there was some discussion as to the age of the Parmer County Junior Livestock show, with some people saying it started in 1947 or 1948. I visited the Friona Star office, looked through their back issues, and discovered the show to be much older than we realized.

On the front page the Friona Star, March 6th, 1942, is an article stating that interest is high in the eighth annual Parmer County Livestock Show, making 1934 its first year. I could not find a 1934 issue that referred to the beginning. In those years, it was held in March or April when hopefully the weather would be warmer for their facility, which was then the school bus barn.

Looking through the early month issues of 1943-1945 there is no mention of a show as the war effort over shadowed events of this nature.

The next article on the county show is in the April 12, 1946 issue.

In the March 8, 1946 issue, there is an article about the Lubbock Regional Show resuming on March 25-27, 1946. Therefore, by discounting the three years during World War II, this year will mark the 77th year for our county show.

My first connection to this show was in February 1971 during my first year as the Parmer County Extension Agent. We were at the Friona School bus barn as well as in 1972 and 1973. I’ve been told by men, who showed as boys in the late 1940’s, of being at a different location in Friona and using some military surplus barracks that came from the POW camp near Hereford.

Our present facility, the Friona Community Center, was constructed in 1973 from private donations for the primary purpose of using it for our county livestock show.

Our first time in this building was in February 1974.

As with any forty-year-old building some upkeep and upgrades of the facility is required. In 2013, several major improvements have been implemented. Cargill Meat Solutions paid for foam insulation sprayed on the inside walls of the livestock barns. This was applied to the inside of the exterior walls on the north, west and east sides by Hamilton Steel and Concrete Co.

Kirk Frye’s precinct crew cleaned out the shavings in the main barn in May 2013. During forty years of cleaning out hay or shavings the ground had become uneven and in need of refilling.

Roy Hartzog donated many loads of caliche fines that the precinct trucks hauled in and spread. Stock show volunteers spread, watered and packed this material, along with Bermea Construction Company laser leveling, watering, and packing the last phase of this project.

Clint Hurst, Bill White and other volunteers are spear-heading a drive to seek donations for new factory made sheep and swine pens to replace the ones we have used for the past forty years.

Both private and corporate donations are paying for this project with a full list being published in the future.

The Parmer County Livestock Show association has replaced four outside doors that were new in 1974. This year’s show, our 77th annual, will be January 14-18, with approximately 440 entries competing. We hope you can attend and watch these youngsters show their projects that have required months of work and preparation.