Manager’s Minute ….


A note from our General Manager

Y’ALL! This past weekend we had approximately 60 youth and over 200 sheep and goats at the Apex Center for the Youth Sheep and Goat Symposium!

Due to a double booking at Virginia Tech, the Virginia Cooperative Extension relocated the event to the Apex and it was held Saturday, June 22, 2019.

To be honest, this was my first Sheep and Goat show, and I had no idea what to expect. I was a bundle of nerves and curiosity leading up to Saturday. That nervousness quickly turned to excitement when a whole buncha sheep showed up at the building Friday afternoon.

If you’re like me and new to the Ag community, this event is centered around youth, between the ages of 9-19, showing their lamb and goats. The youth who participated were from every corner of the state, some coming as far as Virginia Beach. During the day the building was a buzz with youth sheering and cleaning the livestock, chatting nervously, and the sound of the sheep and goats as they lounged in their pens and were herded to the show ring. As the day progressed, you could hear judge Noah Henson from Ashville NC offering praise and constructive criticism to the youth who showed as well as running commentary for the crowd that watched.

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Event host Katharine Carter, from the Virginia Cooperative Extension, worked with our building staff on coordinating the event. The event was established over 40 years ago for 4-H and FFA youth who are interested in raising, exhibiting, and learning more about sheep. Additionally they have added a meat goat division for those youth interested in meat goat projects. (To be even more honest, I don’t know what a meat goat is but it sure is cute.)

“We still offer the Stockman’s Contest, which we now call a Skill-a-Thon and that combined with showmanship and the animal’s live placing, are used to determine our Overall Shepherd Award winners in three age categories: Junior, Intermediate, and Senior.” Carter said.

The Virginia Cooperative Extension is an educational outreach program of Virginia Tech and Virginia State University, and part of the National Institute for Food and Agriculture, an agency of the US Department of Agriculture. It provides programs in the area of agriculture, natural resources, family and consumer sciences, and 4-H youth. The Virginia Cooperative Extension has a network and staff at two universities that service 107 county and city offices, 11 agricultural research and Extension centers, and 6 4-H centers.

While reading through the event info, I came across the phrase “show with character” and it stuck with me. If you’ve seen our Instagram account, I regularly make a play on the word “with” and change it to “Wythe” to honor the community we are in. It was fun to put a spin on this one to be “show wythe character” - and even though I’m new to the area I believe there is a lot to be proud of here.

It was humbling to watch these kids wrangle their beasts and clean them all up. They paraded them proudly and it was awesome to watch them one by one show off the skills they are acquiring. The Apex Center is proud to host events that support our youth and our Ag community!


Kathy Finley