‘Jingle Bell Classic’ prepares contestants for county fairs

Courtesy photo: Karen Cone Koby Cone grooms a calf to get it ready for a show at a past Jingle Bell Classic steer jackpot. The event is scheduled for this weekend.

By Chris Schmaedeke: Freedom New Mexico

Roosevelt County is hosting a contest for 4-H members this weekend that should be a learning experience for children as well as their animals.

The “Jingle Bell Classic” is at the Roosevelt County Fairgrounds in Portales.

The “Jingle Bell Classic” is a steer and heifer jackpot. The contest is set up to get the contestants and their animals ready for county fairs next summer.

“Its a learning experience on both sides,” John Villalba, Quay County Extension 4-H agent, said. “Getting a calf into a trailer is the best training these kids can have.”

The jackpot starts at 10 a.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. Sunday.

The jackpot is open to any 4-H or Future Farmers of America (FFA) member across the state of New Mexico. The contest is also open to 4-H and FFA members in Colorado and Arizona.

“This gives the kids a chance to get their calves out,” Melanie Gutierrez, Roosevelt County 4-H agent, said. “The kids can see how the calves react.”

Mike Cone, organizer of the contest, said he does not how many participants will be at this year’s show.

The last two years they have had anywhere from 50 to 60, Cone said.

“It really teaches them responsibility,” Cone said. “It shows them that if you work hard, good things can happen. It teaches them good work ethic.”

The children are not the only ones getting a learning experience from the contest. The calves are also getting used to being shown in front of a crowd and judges.

Each day two judges will be deciding winners. Each day will have two different judges.

“It puts the calves in a new environment,” Villabla said. “Its a learning experience throughout.”

“Its shows the kids how their calves are able to compete,” Gutierrez said.

Cone said the contest is something the whole family can get behind and enjoy.

“Its a good family program,” Cone said. “Mom and Dad are able to be there with their kids during the contest.”

A couple of members will be coming to the show from Quay County, Villalba said. He said some of the kids go with him and some go on their own.

“This contest really supports what we do at 4-H,” Villalba said.