Organizers persevere to put on The Grand Finale Steer Show in Abilene, Texas
When the Houston and Austin Livestock Shows were canceled because of COVID-19 in March, Shane and Tonya Meier of Fredericksburg, Texas contacted the Taylor County Expo Center in Abilene, Texas to see if they could put on a substitute show.
Turns out, they could. So, from July 24-26, the Grand Finale Steer Show safely took place with 500 exhibitors and 878 steers.
“We thought we would channel our energy towards putting a committee together of livestock enthusiasts to use their creative mindset in planning a successful show that revolves around the youth.” Shane said.
The committee’s roles were to make sure there were enough sponsors for the show and everything was in place. Activities were planned for the youth including educational clinics, relay games, and a showmanship clinic.
“The youth is the future of agriculture because of their resiliency,” Tonya said. “This weekend we honored the class of 2020 where they were allowed to show for the final time.”
The Class of 2020 experienced many speeds bumps this past year but they learned to adapt. The show was competitive and had a fun atmosphere for the youth to enjoy.
“The seniors have adapted to new ways of learning.” Shane said.
The show was originally set to take place before the State of Texas shutdown, but the committee continued with the plan and checked in regularly with the facility staff to ensure the show would still take place.
“It takes it challenges during times like these,” Shane said. “Two weeks leading up to this there was a time where it looked like it was not going to go. Finally, after one week went by, I told the committee we have to go forward like it is going to happen.”
Tonya said events like this have to take place, showing the youth what perseverance looks like is important.
“We had to continue to go along with the planning of the show and have a mentality that it would take place no matter what.” Tonya said.
The show ended in a grand finale with Ruby Bell exhibiting the Grand Champion Steer with Moose and a standing ovation from the crowd for the Meier family and the entire committee.