Nolan Webb

Nolan Webb feeds his steer during the Henderson County Livestock Show last year. The event that draws participants from clubs and organizations from across Henderson County and elsewhere is scheduled for March 18-23.

It's a bit earlier on the calendar than most years, but the Henderson County Livestock Show returns for its 59th edition on Monday.

Chuck McHam is president of the show this year. Now the Precinct 3 commissioner, he was an agriculture instructor for years at Brownsboro High School.

"Everything is shaping up well,” he said. “The show looks like it's going to be a success.”

On Monday night, the queen and princess will be crowned at the Henderson County Regional Fair Park Complex arena. The winners are chosen early in the week to get them ready for their duties at the show, handing out belt buckles and ribbons to the various winners.

The next day, the arena is filled with horses for the judged equestrian events. Breeding swine move into the arena at 5 p.m.

On Wednesday, things will be hopping with hundreds of rabbits entering the show, set for a 10 a.m. start. It's an event popular among many of the younger exhibitors. The intensity increases when the squealing market hogs start arriving and are escorted to their pens.

On Thursday, exhibitors will be in the show pen early for the judging of goats and lambs. Hundreds of market swine will be on display.

Friday begins with broilers and ends with the main event as the market steers fill the arena.

The dream of every show participant is to bring home the coveted grand champion or reserve champion buckles for their respective events. But the competition can be stiff just to qualify for the Saturday auction.

The buyer’s barbeque starts at 11:30 a.m. and the sale gets underway at 1 p.m.

In the market steer show, only 10 of the market steers make the sale. Steers must weigh at least 1,000 pounds to be eligible for the contest.

Of the hundreds of market swine entered, only 100 make the sale. The minimum weight for a market hog is 230 pounds.

In 2018, sales at the premium auction neared the $600,000 mark.

The show events are not limited to animals. The youth shop project show is getting better each year.  Trailers and livestock equipment, such as deer stands, feeders, gates and panels, are eligible for the judging.

An event that has garnered more interest in recent years is the youth shop project show. Students can enter 15 categories, such as art, photography, woodworking, fabrics and food.

Winners will be chosen in the junior division for students 9 through 13 and senior division for students 14 through 19.