Kansas State Fair hosts Special Olympics Champion Livestock Show

Olivia Perkins
The Hutchinson News
Champion Livestock Show participants line up to have their goats officially judged in the ring at the on Sept. 10 Kansas State Fair.

The Grand Drive at the Kansas State Fair partnered with Kansas 4-H and Future Farmers of America members to support a Special Olympics Champion livestock show hosted at the Livestock Barn.

On Friday, nine Special Olympians showed Boer goats alongside 4-H and FFA volunteer guides to instruct them on proper goat showing technique and placement. This provided an opportunity for participants to learn more about what it's like to show livestock.

"This is pausing in life and giving kids an opportunity to say you know what, I can do this," said Jarrod Gillig, president of business operations and supply chain at Cargill.

The nine participants spent time in the champion ring practicing the craft, and later showing the goats in front of state judges.

More:Pandemic impacting some Kansas State Fair venues, but ticket sales strong

"My daughter applied to become one of the 4-H guides for these guys, and she was just so excited when they accepted her," said Brian Rush, father to Breckyn Rush, an Ellsworth 4-H member.

Breckyn, 13, has shown goats for about six years, and this year she signed up to become a guide in order to show others how to do something she loves.

"My favorite part was teaching people how to do things when they don't get to do it every day," said Breckyn.

Jarrod Gillig, president of business operations and supply chain at Cargill, hands out chocolates as a reward to all participants on Sept 10 at the Kansas State Fair.

This opportunity provided a new space for people who have a disability to learn about agriculture wanted to, "set up a space that nurtures, creates and sustains environments where you don't focus on disabilities, but on abilities," said Gillig of Cargill, who sponsored the event. 

This not only taught the Special Olympians a new skill, but also supported the future of agriculture in Kansas.

More:2021 Kansas State Fair Preview: New food, new fun and COVID-19 mitigation efforts

"As we support events like this, this is truly why—we're supporting it today, but looking to the future of how agriculture in Kansas grows and sustains. Truly, the youth that we're seeing here today are going to help us do that," Gillig said.

The Champion Livestock Show gave three Special Olympians awards for their showing abilities, and according to Cargill and the Special Olympics, this event will remain as a staple in the State Fair show rings in the future.