Scores of future livestock champions and their parents learned the ins-and-outs of showing their animals this weekend at “Youth Livestock 101” clinic.

“I want to show kids there is a better path to take than the one that leads them to being hooked on drugs and locked up in jail,” Hillhouse said. “Livestock shows for school-age youngsters across East Texas are the perfect venue to bring families together and instill pride of accomplishment and self-worth in the youngsters.”

Hillhouse said about 50 children from age 5 through their teens and their parents spent Saturday at the Living for the Brand Cowboy Church on the North Loop in Athens.

“This event, which we will hold each year in the future, was designed to help the children learn how best to select, care for and prepare their animals,” Sheriff Hillhouse said.

“I hoped it would bring the families out. What I didn’t expect was how it brought together local businesses. Without their support, none of this could have happened.”

In addition to thousands of dollars donated by businesses, the $25 entry fee to learn from top judges, breeders, and showmen covered the costs of the event and even produced a surplus. Hillhouse said the extra cash was donated to the Living for the Brand Cowboy Church as the event host. “

“Our local Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Office Made this event happen,” Sheriff Hillhouse said, “Without them we would not have been able to get this organized and get the great experienced instructors here for the clinic.”

The Church then donated the money to the Henderson County Peace Officers Association so it can fund a college scholarship for a local student next year.

The Henderson County Sheriff’s Posse was on hand to oversee the clinic and provide support.

“It was also a great opportunity for these kiddos to meet and shake hands with our Deputies,” Hillhouse said.

With more than 20 years of experience in law enforcement, the Sheriff said one of the best ways to stop crime is to get to kids when they are young.

“If you want to watch a good kid grow into a good adult, look at the parents and see how much quality time they are spending with their children,” Hillhouse said.

The clinic was a hands-on experience with children learning the basics and their parents learning to more advanced ways they can help their children win scholarship money in the future, he said.

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