youth livestock

COVID-19 disrupted youth livestock auctions with many moving online or using a hybrid of in-person and online. Could the transition be a precursor for future auctions? Pictured here, a youth exhibitor at the 2018 Tulsa State Fair in Tulsa, OK. Photo by Anna Miller.

Both the Arizona National Livestock Show and the NebraskaN recently announced their shows are canceled, citing concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Today, I have the unfortunate responsibility to inform you that we [Arizona National Livestock Show] did not receive approval to host this year’s [2021] show,” Tyler Grandil, executive director of the Arizona National Livestock Show, said in a video posted on Facebook. “We are faced with the unfortunate reality as many other livestock shows have, that we are 100 percent not in control of whether or not the show happens.”

The Arizona National Livestock Show is hosted by the Arizona State Fair, a state-owned facility, therefore the decision to allow activities on the property is the responsibility of the governor’s office.

“Like most livestock shows and fairs, we’re not 100 percent in control of whether or not the show happens. We are required to work through the approval process like any other entity that wants to hold a public event.”

According to the website, refunds will be issued for most fees, minus the 4 percent processing fee. Fees for DNA kits, premium books, expedited mailing fees, or youth memberships purchased will not be refunded.

As an alternative to the National Western Livestock Show (NWSS), the Grand Island Livestock Complex Authority was planning a show to coincide with the dates the NWSS would take place in January.

The event called The NebraskaN was to be held at the complex with several breed associations planning to attend, including the American Aberdeen Association; American Galloway Breeders Association; American Highland Cattle Association; American Salers Association; International Yak Association; North American Piedmontese Cattle Association; and North American South Devon Association.

A press release on Nov. 19 by Bill Ogg, executive director of the Nebraska State Fair, stated, “Our priority has always been protecting the health and safety of event attendees and Grand Island residents. We had instituted guidelines and other safety measures that we felt addressed those needs. However, with the rise of the epidemic nationally and the recent guidelines that have been enacted in Nebraska and other states, the logistics of putting on a quality event is no longer possible.”

Ogg said all entry fees and vendor reservations would be refunded, stating, “We genuinely wanted to support the national beef cattle industry and the commercial vendors in having an alternative to their traditional January event.”

Hall County, NE, which includes Grand Island, has experienced 928 new positive cases of COVID in the last 14 days as of Nov. 20, according to John Hopkins University COVID-19 data. According to the Grand Island Independent, the number of new cases is higher than those seen in April and May. Mayor Roger Steele issued a mask mandate stating, “increasing infections is putting at risk the city’s ability to maintain essential services.” — Charles Wallace, WLJ editor

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