In the late 1990’s some concerned citizens felt the youth of the county deserved a better facility for their FFA and 4-H events to display and compete with the animals they raised. They got together and built the Ellis County Youth Expo Center on US 287 between Waxahachie and Midlothian. This building is the home of much of the youth agriculture taking place in Ellis County. Clint Almand explained the program to the Rotary Club.

A number of annual events are scheduled including the Spring Livestock Show and the fall 350 Benefit. Entrants are from all over Ellis County. In the last Spring Livestock Show the Grand Champion winners were from Italy, Red Oak, Midlothian and Ennis. The market sale auction of the highest ranked animals included 192 lots selling for a total of $442,000. In addition, 38 “add-on contributors” provided $44,000 for the participants. The buyer/sponsors included R.E. Watson & Associates, CNB of Texas, Superior Commercial Concrete, HBI Construction, Mac Haik Ford and F.O. & O, Inc.

In addition to the auction sales there is a Kids in the Middle award. Those who just missed qualifying for the auction receive a $1,000 grant to help them with the expenses of raising their animals for the next year. Expenses can be substantial for feed and other items and this encourages to young animal growers to continue and strive to improve.

Many other events are scheduled at the Center including 4-H and FFA programs, shooting sports, dances, parties and dinners. There will be an archery tournament in early March. The facility is available for other groups and events. For instance, the Gingerbread House Child Advocacy Center holds its annual chili cook-off fund raiser there in February.

How can you help with these worthy programs? You can make a purchase at the auction or make a general donation. You can become a catalog advertiser or purchase a booth space during an event. You can also just come to an event, buy a hotdog and talk to the kids about their projects and animals. They will love that.

The Center strives to help kids do something worthwhile to grow and achieve success in their lives providing education and recreation. For more information about programs or leasing the Center visit their website at www.elliscountyyouthexpo.com or like them on FaceBook. You can contact Clint Almand at 214-502-9327.

For more information about the Rotary Club of Waxahachie where we believe in Service Above Self and doing things as a club we cannot do alone, visit the club website at www.waxahachierotary.org. You can find American flag subscription forms there.