Senior Farm and Ranch Broadcaster, Ron Hays, is talking with the President of the Oklahoma Youth Expo and Onward Foundation, Tyler Norvell, about the 108th year at OYE as it kicks off this week.
“This year, we awarded over 350,000 dollars in scholarships, so what is great about that, the young people can only use the money here in Oklahoma,” Norvell said. “So, we keep our most precious resource here in our state, and then I fully expect the premium sale to hit that 1.3 to 1.4, maybe 1.5 million dollars, just depending on how things finish up and what young people get into the sale.”
It is the fourth year for the ag mechanics show at OYE, Norvell said and there will be 240 entrees this year. To put it into perspective, Norvell said the first year of the ag mechanics show, there were 50 entrees.
“It just continues to grow,” Norvell said. “It is cool to see the young men and women that are part of that, that may not have livestock, but they are able to show their skills and their potential careers and jobs that they can do. Our sponsors continue to grow there.”
Sponsorship of the Oklahoma Youth Expo is tremendous this year, Norvell said, and he is excited about some new sponsors this year as well. Many sponsors enjoy being part of the event, Norvell said, to make impressions on the youth of the show who will make great future hires.
“There will be plenty job opportunities for these young people and probably jobs offered Wednesday at the (ag mechanics) show, because of the issues with our workforce,” Norvell said.
Following the guilt show starting this Thursday, Norvell said, next Wednesday night the youth will have the chance to sell their guilts. This year, Norvell said at least 125 head will be sold.
“There will be breeders literally from all over the country that buy these,” Norvell said. “I think last year, we sent guilts to over 17 different states.”
Regarding the upcoming legislative show that will be Tuesday, March 14, Norvell said, the event is a great opportunity for lawmakers to spend time with some outstanding students who are the future of agriculture.
“It is awesome to watch, I always say a nine-year-old girl is showing a 60-year-old-man that is an elected official how to show a 1400-pound steer, and the elected official is scared to death, and the little girl is just coaching him through it,” Norvell said. “Those are just some classic moments, but we expect to have well over 100 legislators of the 149 there, and really look forward to that event.”
Norvell takes pride in the Oklahoma Youth Expo, he said, because in his travels, he has found that many states look up to the event.
“The people that aren’t a part of it wish they were, “Norvell said.
What makes the event unique, Norvell said is the sponsors, volunteers and people, but most of all, the help of Bob Funk and Jimmy Harrel. The OYE is one of the most impactful events of the year, Norvell said, for the Oklahoma City area.
“The city of Oklahoma City says that this is the only time they know for sure that at least one person from every Oklahoma county is in Oklahoma City throughout the whole year,” Norvell said.
The show is running close to a 25-million-dollar economic impact for OKC, Norvell said, aiding the hotel business, restaurant business, and more.
“I think people always appreciated it, and then we combined it with Cattlemen’s Congress, and they just are overwhelmed by the impact of the two together.”
Click here for the full schedule for the 2023 OYE. The Oklahoma Farm Report team will be snapping pictures from start to finish- and you can see them as we add them to our Flickr album for 2023- available here. If you want to look back to the 2022 OYE- click here for our pictures from last year’s event.
Our coverage of the 2023 Oklahoma Youth Expo is sponsored by Hilliary Communications- who deliver the latest cutting-edge communications services supporting tens of thousands of customers across 22 counties throughout Oklahoma, Texas and Iowa. The company offers internet, voice and HilliaryTV. Hilliary Communications continuously researches the marketplace for innovations and strives to improve underserved areas, offering services that exceed customer expectations. Click here to learn more about Hilliary Communications.