The Travis County Youth Show (TCYS) took place Jan. 14 – 17 at the Travis County Expo Center. After months of daily work, children ages 9 – 18 showed and auctioned off their animals and exhibits.

According to Troy Wenzel, past president of TCYS, this year’s show involved about 800 livestock and 1,700 youth fair projects. Animals included steers, rabbits, hogs, lambs, goats, chickens and turkeys.

“These kids spend hours each day on their animals,” said Wenzel. “It teaches them responsibility; someone is relying on them for feeding and care.”

Wenzel also noted that youth fair exhibits are becoming increasingly popular as areas of Travis County make the transition from mostly rural and more urban. Some children have no space to raise livestock, but they can still participate through the youth fair exhibits. This year, the TCYS included 1,700 youth fair exhibits such as art, woodworking, metalworking, plants, food crafts and quilts. TCYS is a nonprofit organization whose goal is to develop the character of youth through competitive livestock and youth fair exhibits. Wenzel said that about 50 board members and another 100 volunteer adults help make the show happen.

The auction typically takes in about $430,000. Auction proceeds belong to the children, minus a small commission that pays for operating the show, said Wenzel. Some children use the funds to pay for the next year’s project, while others save the money for college expenses.

A separate scholarship fund is supported by additional fundraising activities, said Trent Warwick of the Hill Country Austin 4-H. Since 2010, the organization has awarded 42 scholarships totaling $36,000.

The show is open to all children living in Travis County who attend public school or are homeschooled. For more information, visit

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