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A Rich History, An Even Brighter Future

The first Karnes County Youth Livestock and Homemaking Show was hosted by the communities of Kenedy and Runge at the Kenedy Agri-Civic Center in January 1987.  Prior to that year, each community in Karnes County held its own project show and sale.  In November 1987, the Youth Show board of directors purchased property located between Kenedy and Karnes City (where the show is currently held) from the Mickey family of Houston.  Construction of the initial showbarn, providing a show/sale arena and exhibitor stall area for hogs, lambs, and broilers, began in December 1987.  The barn was completed in time for the 1988 show.  An eventful timeline follows:

  • Late 1988 West open wing and original homemaking building constructed
  • 1989 Karnes City joins Kenedy and Runge for the 1989 show; restrooms added
  • 1991 Hog barn and concessions stand built; concrete slab poured inside homemaking building; 239 lots sell for $124,829.55
  • 1993 Show board pays off note on existing facilities and original land note
  • 1994 Falls City joins Kenedy, Karnes City, and Runge – complete Karnes County show; concrete slab poured in concessions stand; original homemaking building extended into current homemaking building; office constructed; open west wing livestock barn extended and closed-in
  • 1997 Name changes from Karnes County Junior Livestock and Homemaking Show to Karnes County Youth Show

Once all four communities came together for a unified county show, improvements were made over the years, building wash racks and improving electrical, water, and sound systems.  Growth in entries and the 2016 addition of the commercial heifer show necessitated rental of tents for several years.  In response, the KCYS board, aided by significant financial support from the community, made a major building addition in 2019.  The 240’ x 80’ livestock pavilion opened in time for the 2020 show, replacing the former hog barn and commercial steer lean-to shed.  The new building houses all halter cattle ties and commercial steer and heifer pens.  Concrete was poured between the existing showbarn and the new building, yielding new wash racks and wash pens for hogs as well as providing an all-weather location to weigh halter steers.

In the January 11, 1995, edition of the Kenedy Advance-Times, show historian Ginger Johnson described the extension and expansion of the homemaking building, ending with a mention of “air-conditioning to be added at a later date.”  That later date finally came in 2022 when the homemaking building received new exterior steel panels, spray insulation, and commercial heating and air conditioning units.  

2023 brought the construction of a modern open-concept show office located inside the original 1988 showbarn, as well as rehabilitation of existing restroom facilities.  Also, that year saw the reprise of a long-time KCYS tradition: pouring concrete slabs inside of existing buildings.  This time the halter cattle portion of the livestock pavilion received a concrete floor.  Recalling Mrs. Johnson’s words in that 1995 news article, “the board draws ever nearer a facility which can be used year-round.”

Building facilities are only a by-product of the KCYS mission, to provide open and fair competition for the youth of Karnes County for livestock, food preparation, and works of their hands.  The show began with offering classes in food, handicrafts, clothing, breeding livestock (dairy heifers, beef heifers, gilts, and ewes), and market livestock (halter steers, commercial steers, lambs, swine, and broilers).  Over the years, the clothing show merged into the handicrafts show, breeding ewes dropped, market goats added in 1992 (breeding goats added in later years), commercial heifers added in 2016, and finally, a separate agricultural mechanics project show was added for the 2024 show.

Community support of our youth has been substantial from the first year.  2011 saw first $300,000 premium auction ($382,921), breaking the $500,000 mark for the first time the next year.  The first show where total proceeds topped one million dollars was 2018 ($605,945 for the 199 lots in the premium sale, $249,012 in bumps donated to the exhibitors, and $156,600 in commercial heifer sales).  Outstanding community support pushed that total number to a record $1,272,492 in 2023 ($797,075 premium sale, $301,217 in bumps, and $174,200 in commercial heifer sales).

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Friends of

the Karnes County Youth Show

Beginning with the 10th Anniversary of the Karnes County Youth Show, the Board of Directors began recognizing individuals and groups who were integral to the success of the Youth Show.  This is the highest honor the Board of Directors bestows on a community member.

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Past Presidents

  • Ervin Johnson
  • Larry Schendel
  • Robert "Bob" Ihrig
  • Ron Carter
  • J. Kemp Janecek*
  • Lambert Titzman
  • Edward "Ed" Monson
  • Larry Banduch
  • Patrick Pollock
  • Harvey Kainer*
  • Jim Tom Nichols
  • Leroy Skloss
  • Ivan Jaskinia
  • Don Herold*
  • Dale Thiele
  • Michael "Mike" Mohr
  • Eddie Bordovsky
  • Shirley Janssen
  • Chris Jendrusch
  • Keith Huser
  • Jim Sartwelle, III