Marisa grew up showing and raising livestock in NC. She has shown animals at the N.C. State Fair for 15 years and is a past youth livestock scholarship recipient. She is an N.C. State University graduate, agricultural photographer and blogger.

Scholarship Highlight: Mason Blinson–Seeker of Opportunity

Nothing is worse than missing an opportunity that could have changed your life. Below is a profile of Mason Blinson, a N.C. State Fair Youth Scholarship recipient that has shown sheep, pigs and cattle at the N.C. State Fair for many years. Mason is the daughter of Beth and Bryan Blinson of Buies Creek, NC. No one can accuse Mason Blinson of turning down a good opportunity, and because of her willingness to try new things, visit new places, and utilize the talents she’s been given, Mason has been able to experience some pretty awesome things. Mason is a senior…

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Coming Home to the NC State Fair

In recent years, the multitude and magnitude of hurricanes that have hit our state have been maddening. They always seem to hit right around N.C. State Fair time, too. I guess that’s why they call it hurricane season. While overall, our state dodged major impacts from Hurricane Dorian, sans the Outer Banks, we are all still keeping a wary eye out for another named storm. Don’t get us wrong, we aren’t just being worry warts over here. We still have much hope and excitement, especially when our thoughts go to the N.C. State Fair. There is something about the State…

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Beef Cattle, Family, Teaching–Combining Passions & Pursuing a Ph.D.

The N.C. State Fair Youth Livestock Scholarship helps dozens of youth chase after a college education every year. Recipients all share the commonality of showing livestock at the N.C. State Fair, but their goals are different. Some pursue degrees in nursing while others focus on animal science. Some recipients attend community college and others travel across the country to get their degree. Some stop at a bachelors while others continue on to grad school. And, this scholarship covers all the types. While most of our scholarship recipients are undergrads, we do have some graduate students. Meet Jordan Cox O’Neill. She’s…

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Are You Smarter than a Livestock Kid?

Hundreds of North Carolina youth gather in Raleigh for three contests. These competitions test their knowledge of all things livestock. They practice. They study. They bring their game face. There’s nothing quite like it, and so many come back year after year to compete. Trust me. I was one of them several years ago. Here is a glimpse into each of these livestock competitions: Skillathon—A contest of knowledge, identification, and evaluation Tables are lined in rows. On each table is spread items waiting to be identified. There are four categories—feed, meat, breeds, and equipment. Youth are assigned groups are directed…

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Junior Beef Roundup—An Event for All Ages

Junior Beef Roundup doesn’t have an age limit…well, okay, maybe technically it does, but that isn’t the point. If you step onto the NC State Fairgrounds and look around the cattle barn, you’ll quickly see that while only ages six to 21 (by Jan. 1) are allowed to show and compete, there are people at the event of all ages. Those attending the Junior Beef Roundup may vary in many different ways, but there is one thing they all have in common—a love for beef cattle. Even though not everyone at the Junior Beef Roundup is able to show, they…

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5 Ways Summer Is Different for Livestock Kids

There’s something about summertime. School is out. The sun is shining, and anything cool sounds good (please pass the ice cream). Many families go on vacation or spend days at the pool. Children attend camps and make special memories with friends all summer long. Summer is a special time, but it does not look the same for everyone. Here’s 5 ways summer is different for kids with livestock. 1.Family vacations are to livestock shows. With some big livestock shows taking place in the middle of summer, families involved in the livestock show world, pack up, and make the trip to…

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A Red Pig Named Cajun: Road to the Winner’s Circle

In a barn in Kenly, North Carolina, a litter of red pigs was born to a sow named Ruby. One of those little pigs would be hand-picked by a girl in a neighboring town and go on to win a championship. This is the story of a couple of girls, family teamwork, and a red pig named Cajun. Sarah Scott (right), Taylor Glover (middle), & NC State Fair hog judge (left) Pigs, although often thought as a pinkish white in color, actually come in many colors and patterns. The Duroc breed is characterized by their beautiful red color that ranges…

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Never Stop Learning:Youth Improve Skills Through Livestock Clinics

An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest. -Ben Franklin Have you ever watched a livestock show at the N.C. State Fair? Have you ever wondered how they learn how to show a massive cow or keep control of their pig? Let me tell you, there are lot of rules to follow and techniques to execute. Those showmen didn’t learn how to show overnight. Through the entire year, youth are constantly investing in their skills and knowledge regarding livestock. They are forever trying to learn, grow, and become better. One major opportunity they have is to participate in livestock…

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Livestock showmen receive N.C. State Fair scholarships

Youth who show livestock know the importance of being focused. They focus on making their animal look its best. They focus on the judge and catching their eye. These youth focus on the prize, on improvement and on the future shows, ribbons and animals. Livestock youth are also focused on their future careers and education. For many youth, just as much hard work goes into school work and grades as it does to prepare their animals for show. The N.C. State Fair Junior Livestock Educational Scholarship combines school, livestock, and future aspirations all into one. The scholarship program looks at…

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The Life of a Ribbon After the Show

If you’ve ever shown livestock at the N.C. State Fair, you know that if you walk away with nothing else, you will leave with awesome memories and at least one ribbon. If you are like many livestock showman, you leave with several ribbons, because let’s be honest, many of us can’t show just one animal. I’d say it’s a problem we have, but I don’t think it really is a problem. And, if you are like a lot of livestock showman, you have ribbons that span years of livestock showing. I may or may not be talking about myself here….

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