Eddy and Chaves counties welcomed a change of venue for the New Mexico Youth Livestock Expo which was displaced from the New Mexico State Fair in Albuquerque as the state grappled with COVID-19.
This year the New Mexico Youth Livestock Expo was relocated to Roswell Sept. 14 through Sept. 17, after mandates from Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham required vaccinations for all eligible individuals to attend and participate in the New Mexico State Fair, read a news release.
State Sen. Cliff Pirtle (R-32) and former New Mexico State Fair Commissioner Tommy Spindle announced that the New Mexico Youth Livestock Expo moved to the Eastern New Mexico State Fairgrounds (ENMSF) in south Roswell.
“The result of the mandate was the exclusion of 4-H and FFA children who did not want the vaccine or did not have time to complete the two-dose vaccine cycle before the Fair,” the press release stated.
In the press release, Pirtle said 4-H and FFA members deserved recognition for the year-long work raising animals to exhibit.
“On behalf of my constituents and my district, I thank the Governor and the City of Albuquerque for sending us your business and your best and brightest,” he said.
Roswell Mayor Dennis Kintigh said the fairgrounds are privately owned and members of the ENMSF board of directors reached out to New Mexico Youth Livestock Expo organizers.
“They took it on themselves to do this,” he said. “I’m thrilled. I love to see these young people come to our community.”
Eddy County 4-H Agent Wayne Shockey said scores of people worked to make this year’s youth livestock event happen.
He said the change of venue is a major benefit for Eddy County youth.
“We’re going to be just as well off if we had went to the New Mexico State Fair. The biggest benefit is it’s going to be a lot closer,” Shockey said.
“Just an amazing group of people who support the youth and know what it takes and what the impact was to help some of these kids that may have lost an opportunity.”
He said participants, family members and buyers would have a short distance to travel from Carlsbad to Roswell – travel to Albuquerque is 300 miles.
“We’ve always had great support at the New Mexico State Fair in Albuquerque with buyers and people showing up to support those youth and I don’t see any difference with that between Albuquerque and Roswell,” Shockey said.
He said youth from Eddy County who have never participated in livestock shows in Albuquerque may consider participation in Roswell in nearly three weeks.
Mike Smith can be reached at 575-628-5546 or by email at MSmith@currentargus.com or @ArgusMichae on Twitter.