Junior livestock competition goes online

Due to the ongoing response to the COVID-19 virus and the resulting closure of the Spokane County Fairgrounds, the 85th annual Junior Livestock Show of Spokane, originally scheduled for May 5-9, is being done online (virtually) instead of having an in-person competition. The accompanying market sale for this year is cancelled.Stock image of a woman walking next to a pig using a stick to guide the pig in a fairgrounds arena.

The Junior Livestock Show is a non-profit organization open to any member of 4-H or Future Farmers of America (FFA). In Washington, 4-H is overseen by Washington State University Extension. Participants in the show mostly come from Washington, Idaho, Oregon and Montana, though it is open to anyone in 4-H or FFA from anywhere in the U.S.

“We still wanted to do something for the kids, who have put so much time and effort into raising their animals,” said Lynn Cotter, Junior Livestock Show manager. “This is new for everyone, and we’re still working to figure out the logistics, but we’ll be ready to judge the competition on May 7.”

Instead of going to Spokane, participants will record a video of them with their animals. They’ll receive instructions on what angles to show, so their animals can be judged. Then they will submit those videos using a third-party company the show is contracting with.

“The kids won’t be able to meet up with or make new friends in person, but this will still allow them to experience the friendly competition that is a staple of the show,” Cotter said. “We talked with a similar show in Arizona that did this recently using the same technology we’ll use, and they had a phenomenal response. So we’re encouraged we’ll have a successful virtual show.”

The Spokane show will have judges that watch every video and award ribbons for top animals. Due to privacy concerns, the videos will not be posted publicly.

Since the market sale is cancelled, event organizers are asking anyone interested in purchasing an animal for meat to reach out to 4-H or to Cotter herself.

“These kids have to sell their animals themselves now, when they’d normally have an outlet at the market sale,” Cotter said. “So we’ll do everything we can to help them.”

For the most up to date information, please visit http://www.juniorshow.org/.