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Sheepdog trials, archery contest and college fair join the SFT schedule in 2019

published: September 6th 2019
by: Lesli Sharp

Each year, The State Fair of Texas® (SFT) looks for new ways to educate and engage with the over two million fairgoers annually. With their mission built upon agriculture, education and community involvement, there are always new events, competitions and activities for the public to attend and participate in. The SFT builds on their mission each year with new ways to diversify their audience and events to engage more individuals. This year’s fair is no different, with new events  for all ages such as an archery contest, sheep dog trial and an agriculture and technical college fair.
One way the SFT engages with the population is through their annual Ag Awareness Day, which will be held on Oct. 8, 2019. Ag Awareness Day provides many opportunities to learn about the different facets of agriculture and the impact the industry has on our world.
    Ag Awareness Day was started with the mission to provide agricultural education to youth across the state with activities and hands-on experiences and hosts more than 3,500 students who are involved in multiple facets of the Fair through their local 4-H, FFA and FCCLA chapters. Students who attend will have the opportunity to support the community through a canned food drive, educational scavenger hunt and recognize youth leadership and development organizations.
    The SFT has a long-standing tradition of educational opportunities for youth to participate in and this year is no different. As part of the 2019 Ag Awareness Day the SFT will host the Agriculture & Technical College Fair. This will be a collection of university and technical school recruiters providing informational booths to promote their respective schools. The college fair is a targeted opportunity for Texas school recruiters to share specifically on educational tracks related to agriculture and technical trades such as welding, automotive technology and diesel mechanics. For many students, choosing what school or degree to pursue can be very overwhelming with the vast options available. The SFT is hoping students attending Ag Awareness Day with agriculture already as a focus will find the college fair a relaxed and informative way to connect with universities.
    “Hosting a college fair in conjunction with the day provides a small-scale opportunity for schools and universities to visit with these agriculture and technical oriented youth interested in pursuing further studies,” said Emma Christensen, SFT livestock coordinator.
    The college fair will conveniently be held in the Briscoe Carpenter Live-stock Center’s Lobby, a high traffic area of the SFT, to provide recruiters in-creased chances of visiting with prospective students. The event is geared towards high-school aged students interested in pursuing a higher education in agriculture or a technical school but is open to the public.
    The SFT has strong relationships with local schools and universities across the state and relies on talented faculty, graduate students and has a robust internship program for students. These individuals and schools play a pivotal role in making the fair a success each year. The college fair allows these education partners [EC1] to engage with fairgoers and youth with a passion for agriculture in yet another way.
    “The new Agriculture & Technical College Fair provides an occasion for us to build new relationships and opportunities for more youth interested in the career paths our mission is built upon,” says Chris-tensen. “It is also a great way to highlight and tie livestock events and our exhibitors’ years of hard work and dedication back to our State Fair Scholar-ship program they qualify to apply for and utilize at Texas universities.”
    The college fair supports the three pillars of the SFT mission: agriculture, education and community involvement and allows students and recruiters to make connections, which could lead to a future education in agriculture or technical skills. The SFT places the utmost importance on developing and supporting the next generation of leaders and this event is another example of that.
    The 2019 fair will also host 120 4-H and FFA students competing in an archery contest on Oct. 12 and 13. This will be a world archery 18-meter indoor round and will consist of 60 arrows shot at the 40cm 5 color face or triple face targets. The top 10 scoring shooters in each class will then have the chance to compete in the SFT Championship Shoot Off on Sunday afternoon.
    “With an increased popularity in the archery contest, we thought it would be a great addition to our youth development contests diverse from just the shows,” said MaKayla Cromwell, SFT livestock director.
    Competitors in the archery contest will vie for SFT champion banners, trophies and plaques. Spectators will enjoy this new competition located in the poultry building.
    In addition to the archery contest, this year’s fair will feature a sheepdog trial for the first time. Sheepdog trials are a competitive dog sport where sheep are moved around a field, fences, gates or enclosures by herding dogs and directed by their handlers. The competition is open to all and is run in conjunction with the Texas Sheepdog Association (TSDA). En-trants must be a member of the TSDA to enter. Those who end on top of the trial will win SFT buckles for division winners and jackpot money for the overall champions. The competition will have two trials with 75 dogs per trial, each taking their turn to move the sheep through the course. The trial will take place on Oct. 17 and is one event you won’t want to miss.
    While the SFT offers plenty of opportunities for fun, games and fried food, they would be remiss to not provide students with continued educational opportunities and competitions. The SFT will continue to find new ways to engage with the public, educate on the agriculture industry and provide ways to diversify their events. The 2019 Fair will be held Sept. 27 through Oct. 20 in Dallas, Texas.  For more information and to find a full SFT schedule, visit BigTex.com.
SLS

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