Officers and members of Future Farmers of America and 4-H groups throughout Ellis County opened the 25th Ellis County Youth Expo on Tuesday at the Ellis County Expo Center. The opening ceremonies kickoff a week's worth of shows, exhibits and competition between youth ag students and group members.

The ceremony began with a flag ceremony as youth circled the arena displaying the FFA flag, Texas flag and the U.S. flag. As each flag entered the arena area, the members told what the flags and their colors meant to members of the FFA.

The master of ceremonies introduced honored including Ellis County Commissioners Ron Brown, Dennis Robinson and Bill Dodson, Sheriff Johnny Brown and other county and city government leaders.

Several of the county officials took part in directing the opening ceremonies including County Judge Carol Bush. Among those joining Bush were Ron Brown and Robinson, Cheryl Chambers, Cindy Polley, Steve Egan and Johnny Brown.

With the opening ceremonies completed, Kyle Caldwell announced to the crowd, “Let the show begin.”

Prior to the official opening, animals, youth, team leaders and teachers bustled around the expo center's corrals, making sure all of the livestock were ready for show. Paperwork had to be filled out and double checked, creative art projects had to be moved or assembled on site, and all manner of mammals were weighed.

About 700 animals filled the barn area with their exhibitors began making ready the stalls for their equipment and their animals. Grooming stands were set up for goats and lambs. Several of the exhibitors began washing and grooming their animals, getting prepped for their time in the arena and a chance to take home a trophy belt buckle.

The market broilers and rabbits were the first animal class to show in the arena Tuesday evening. As of press time, the judges were viewing the broilers and readying for the rabbits. Pick up Thursday's Waxahachie Daily Light issue to find out which youth took home top honors in both divisions.

On Wednesday, the day will began with the judging of the creative arts projects and shop projects. The public viewing of these exhibits will be open after noon on Wednesday.

The live stock show will begin on Thursday with the market goats and sheep. The market show will be followed by the Pee Wee Showmanship competition. Showmen under 8 years of age will show in the Pee Wee group.

At 2 p.m., the Pee Wee lamb showmanship will be held. Following, in the same arena, the market lamb competition will began, followed by the Junior/Senior goat showmanship competition.

Friday’s schedule begins with the heifer show at 2 p.m. followed by the Junior/Senior heifer showman competition. The pee wee division will follow.

The steer competition will be the last to enter the arena before the show’s end. Steer exhibitors will enter in the market class and for the showmanship award

Saturday is the finale of the show. Following a barbecue lunch, the show sale will begin. The sale will feature the top prize winning animals of the week. The Waxahachie Daily Light will publish the winners of each division throughout this week, and don't forget to pick up the Ellis County Youth Expo special section in April.