OKLAHOMA CITY (OBV) – For more than a century, the Oklahoma Youth Expo has been showing off the best and brightest from our state’s long farming and ranching history.
“It’s the state championship of agriculture for all of our students across Oklahoma, both rural and urban,” said Tyler Norvell, president of the Oklahoma Youth Expo.
For the last 108 years, kids eight to 19 have been coming to the State Fairgrounds in Oklahoma City for the world’s largest junior livestock show. Visitors will see pigs, sheep, goats, calves and a whole lot of smiles.
“It’s one of a kind. It’s always a favorite of mine to come to and show,” said Mason Harris. Harris is a senior, sheep show-er from Morrison, Okla. He’s a great example of the scope of the attendees. At least 10 kids are in attendance from every Oklahoma county.
“It’s cool to see the people that are my age that I probably would never meet before this and have something to bond over,” said Harris
Harris says he plans to go to OSU in the fall and continue studying agriculture. Maybe he’ll be able to use some of the $3 million in scholarships awarded at the Expo. But it’s not just livestock; agriculture mechanics and engineering competitions also allow kids to show off their welding and creative skills.
“Some of my best friends are people that I met through FFA and people that I showed against here at the show,” said Oklahoma House Speaker Pro Tem Kyle Hilbert
The expo is a big hit with state leaders too. Hilbert participated in the show when he was in high school. Now, thanks to the legislative and celebrity showmanship event, he and 120 other elected officials can learn and relive the glory days.
“Most of the time you get an opportunity to be paired with someone from your district and you get that quality time to really learn from them about the animal that you’re showing,” said Hilbert “I’d say it’s a win-win. It’s a win, of course, for the expo to have all the legislators here and seeing the importance of it. But it’s a win for legislators, as we all get this firsthand connection with the youth of Oklahoma, but also with the agriculture industry, which is always going to be incredibly important to the state of Oklahoma. It’s our history, it’s our past, but it’s also our future. And we’ve got to stay close and support our ag industry.”
OYE is a big win for Oklahoma City as well. Some $25 million are spent in the OKC metro in March courtesy the Oklahoma Youth Expo.
“I’ve had many people tell me this is the biggest crowd we’ve ever seen at the Oklahoma Youth Expo. If you go down to Meridian or go down to Cowtown, the Stockyard City or wherever it’s for, you got to wait a long time to get in a restaurant, and there’s a lot of hotel rooms taken,” said Norvell.