UACES Facebook Months, years of work pay off for 4-H members at Arkansas State Fair
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Months, years of work pay off for 4-H members at Arkansas State Fair

By Ryan McGeeney
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Oct. 20, 2017 

Fast Facts:

  • 77th annual state fair features new rides, large livestock show competition
  • Annual fair represents intensive work from 4-H youth 

(256 words)

LITTLE ROCK – The Arkansas State Fair returned to the state’s capitol city this month, boasting a packed fairway with new rides and vendors. But at its core remains one of the fair’s oldest traditions: the livestock judging competitions that represent the fruition of months — and sometimes years — of hard work by the young members of Arkansas 4-H.


Chelsey Ahrens, 4-H youth livestock specialist for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, helps coordinate “skill-a-thons” — five-part competitions that challenge participants’ knowledge of cattle, goats and other livestock animals raised for show and sale. She said each fall, 4-H members are given the opportunity to harvest the fruits of long labors.

“These kids hit the summers pretty hard and heavy,” Ahrens said. “Feeding, watering, grooming, training, and getting those animals ready for the fair. It’s countless hours, morning and night, every day, working with them. 

“If they’re showing smaller animals, such as sheep, goats and hogs, they’ve had those animals since the spring and they’ve spent all summer working with them, training them to lead, or driving a hog.” 

Ahrens said 4-H members showing cattle have typically worked with the animal a full year or more. 

There were more than 6,000 livestock entries at the 2017 state fair, according to organizers, with many participants entering multiple categories. More than 6,300 people attended the fair on its opening day, Oct. 12, soaring to a high on more than 81,000 on Saturday, Oct. 14. 

To learn about Arkansas 4-H, contact your local Cooperative Extension Service agent or visit


About the Division of Agriculture

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system.  

The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.   

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer. 

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Media Contact: Mary Hightower
Dir. of Communication Services
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
(501) 671-2126

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