Youngsters value hard work at Eddy County Fair livestock competitions

Eight-year-old TJ Crook comes from a long line of livestock raisers.

His family took part in the Eddy County Fair for generations, showing sheep, goats, lambs, cows and the other animals used in the annual competition held in Artesia.

On Thursday, Crook of Artesia was christened the winner of the booster lamb show, beating out numerous other youngsters to win a ribbon and dollar bill.

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The booster shows, which are held for multiple animals, see the stock provided to the children that then walk them into the pen to be judged on posture and showmanship.

It’ the first taste of competition for young children, many who will go on to compete through high school.

Crook’s mother Jodi Crook said the shows teach children to be competitive but also responsible as they raise their animals for months ahead of the summer event.

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TJ Crook competes in the booster lamb show, July 29, 2021 at the Eddy County Fair in Artesia. Crook took home first place in the competition that provided lambs to the children for their first taste of livestock shows at the annual event.

Her two other children, one in college and the other just recently aging out of the fair at 19, both learned a lot from the event and gave Crook confidence they could move into adulthood successfully.

“Letting them go, I feel better knowing they were taught responsibility,” she said. “This is our family. It’s just what we do.”

While her son recently started playing sports, Crook said the fair will always be his first competition.

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She said TJ began attending the livestock show as a baby and that her husband’s family was involved for generations.