It's important to remember family members and the difference they've made in life. That's why Luke White named a cow after his aunt.
Luke, of Checotah, is showing his cow, Nona, on Monday at the Oklahoma Youth Expo.
He's shown cattle at the expo for the past two years, and each year, he's named his cow after a different family member.
Thankfully, he said, his aunt Nona didn't mind lending her name to the Beefmaster cow.
“She liked that,” he said.
Luke, 12, was with Nona Saturday at the expo at State Fair Park. The cow has a personality all her own, he said. She's easy to lead and seems to enjoy going wherever Luke takes her.
“She likes to move,” he said. “She likes to get out and see the world.”
Showing cattle has been a good experience, Luke said. It's taught him to take care of animals and it's made him more aware of the fact that there are things in the world other than himself, he said.
“It's just given me more responsibility,” he said.
Kylee Henderson, 13, said the competition also gives her the opportunity to win money for college. The expo will award nearly $200,000 in scholarship money to contestants this year.
As she hosed down her cow, Bella, on Saturday afternoon, Kylee said she enjoys showing cattle because it's something of a family tradition — her mother showed cattle when she was a girl. Besides, it's something she can do with her friends, she said.
“It's fun,” she said.
The 10-day expo, which is billed as the “World's Largest Junior Livestock Show,” wraps up Monday. The event is a partnership among a number of agencies, including the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, Oklahoma State University and the Oklahoma State Fair.
The expo includes about 6,000 Oklahoma students showing about 13,500 animals. In addition to cattle, the expo includes categories for sheep, goats and swine. It is open to any student from Oklahoma who is a member of 4-H or FFA.
The expo also includes an art show for students ages 9 to 18 and a day of activities hosted by Oklahoma State University's College of Agriculture Sciences and Natural Resources.
Tyler Norvell, the expo's executive director, said in a statement that the expo teaches students the value of hard work and dedication, as well as providing students with leadership training and life skills.
“We expect to see some terrific kids and livestock at this year's expo,” Norvell said. “It is such a thrill to witness their growth and dedication as we advance our proud legacy into another exciting year.”