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Students talk livestock showing on first day of the Southern New Mexico State Fair


LAS CRUCES – Southern New Mexico students swarmed the fairgrounds west of Las Cruces Wednesday preparing to show their livestock in front of judges on the first official day of the Southern New Mexico State Fair & Rodeo.

Junior livestock judging started early Wednesday, Sept. 28, at the Southern New Mexico State Fairgrounds. Students from all over the southern half of the state and of various ages and experience levels prepped their rabbits, goats, sheep, pigs, poultry and cattle to be presented before judges.

Linzey Doolittle, 15, from Las Cruces High took part in the junior livestock events for the first time Wednesday. She showed her nine-month-old dairy heifer, Clarabelle. Doolittle explained that the Future Farmers of America organization at the school is highly encouraging of others to take part in showing animals.

“I think a lot of the FFA community at Las Cruces High School does dairy, so that’s really just like what pushed me to try it,” Doolittle said. “The dairy heifer community, especially, is really helpful.”

Zoe Turner, 19, a student at Doña Ana Community College, and Aimee Coletti, 19, a student at New Mexico State University, were in the rabbit barn Wednesday afternoon preparing to show their animals. This is their last year of taking part in the junior livestock show.

Coletti said she has been coming to the fair for four years and each year has shown her Dutch rabbit, Shiro.

“I’ve been showing my rabbit since he was a baby, and kind of seeing how he improves over the year and how my care for him has improved and how he shows against different rabbits every year,” Coletti said of returning each season.

Turner has been showing for about two years and said she always enjoys the excitement of competition, though she also emphasized the hard work that goes into preparing the animals.

“It’s definitely not something where you can just walk up there and put a rabbit up there and go, ‘This is fine.’ It ain’t easy like that,” she said, also encouraging others to do their research before jumping into showing animals. “Don’t do it just to win a belt buckle.”

Coletti added that though rabbits are some of the smallest animals being shown at the fair, they still require quite a bit of care and work. But the community of people involved with the livestock showing are welcoming and helpful.

Hayli Bagwell, 15, of Truth or Consequences, and Pres White, 15, of Hatch, also emphasized the social benefits of taking part in livestock showing each year. You end up making friends with other students showing the same animals, or others, especially when you go to multiple events during the fair season, they said.

As for the other exhibits, officials said entries were up this year. Sharon Sevachko, veteran building superintendent, said she was hoping to reach 2,000 entries this year, a feat narrowly missed in 2019.

The Southern New Mexico State Fair continues through Sunday, Oct. 2, with rodeo events each night, carnival rides and lots of vendors to check out. Tickets for adults ages 15 and up are $15 while tickets for children between 7 and 14 are $10. Children 6 and under will be admitted for free. Tickets can be purchased at the gate or ahead of time online at snmstatefairgrounds.net.

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Leah Romero is the trending reporter at the Las Cruces Sun-News and can be reached at 575-418-3442, LRomero@lcsun-news.com or @rromero_leah on Twitter.





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