Valencia County Community Expo

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Looking for family fun at an unbeatable cost as a way to round out your summer?

Brent Ruffner-News-Bulletin photo: A group of sellers stand with show chickens at the Mechenbier Farm in Tomé. A variety of livestock will be shown at the Valencia County Community Expo in Los Lunas, which runs from Sunday, Aug. 5, to Saturday, Aug. 11. Pictured in front, from left, are Mikey and Addie Richardson; in back, from left, are Theresa Vallo, Mariah King, La Shay Marks and Tyler Bock.

Starting this Sunday, Aug. 5, the Valencia County Community Expo might just be the answer, with plenty of entertainment and a $1 general admission price making for affordable entertainment.

The event, in its fourth year, features lots of livestock shows that include chickens, goats, cattle, lambs and rabbits that should make buyers happy this fair season.

But the expo isn’t all about livestock. It offers Valencia County residents a chance to spend time with family and friends and participate in events such as the three-legged race and the aqua bubble, a sphere that people can jump into and walk on water.

The expo runs from Sunday, Aug. 5, to Saturday, Aug. 11, and is closed to the public on Monday, Aug. 6.

Residents can check out the carnival, from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 8, which is expected to have 10 to 15 amusement park rides. It is separate from the expo festivities at the Los Morros Business Park, near Interstate 25 and N.M. 6 in Los Lunas. There will be rides for all ages, and there is an additional cost to ride the rides.

“That’s the biggest thing ― we are trying to get the community involved,” said Jessica Richardson, Valencia County Community Expo president. “It’s not just livestock.”

Richardson said the expo gives residents a variety of activities to do while the livestock shows are going on during the six-day event.

Sunday features an ATV rodeo, where residents can compete in timed rodeo events, such as barrel races, using ATVs instead of horses. Sign-up is at 7 a.m. that day.

On Tuesday, Aug. 7, 4-H and FFA groups check-in with the junior livestock exhibitors.

On Wednesday, residents will be treated to commercial vendors who will sell food starting at noon. There will also be a deejay starting at 8 p.m.

The next day, the event showcases lambs, dairy and meat goats to go along with family events such as the three-legged race and the stick horse race. There is also a glow-in-the-dark egg hunt at 9 p.m.

Friday, Aug. 10, features a presentation from New Mexico Game and Fish officials along with poultry, cattle and rabbit shows that should give residents their livestock fix. The first show starts at 8 a.m.

Friday is also Education Day, which will feature fire safety, New Mexico Extension Master Gardeners and NMSU-ICAN Program.

The last day, Saturday, Aug. 11, features the livestock sale with a buyer’s appreciation dinner starting at 3 p.m., and the sale at 5 p.m.

Richardson, whose children are in 4-H, said the young sellers have worked hard to get to the point where they can sell their animals at the Valencia County Community Expo.

She said children usually buy their animals around April and do chores, such as feeding and cleaning their livestock, in diligent work that ends in developing a show animal. The children put in hard work inviting potential buyers to the fair with the hopes that person will purchase their animal.

“That’s the ultimate goal ― to get there and (sell the animal),” Richardson said. “Hopefully, you make back some of that money you put into them throughout the year.”

Buyers who don’t want the animals can donate them to local organizations, such as the New Mexico Boys and Girls Ranch.

Richardson said raising livestock teaches children responsibility and accountability through hard work. Her children are enrolled in 4-H to help them become disciplined individuals.

“They learn all of that with these animals,” Richardson said. “You have (an animal) that’s sick or hurt and the kids are lying right there in the dirt with them and loving on them. These kids really develop a really tight bond with their animals.”

Some animals fetch as much as a few thousand dollars and can help start a college fund for the future.

“There are many, many of these kids (that do this) for college,” Richardson said. “Not only that, but the money they make this year will pay for next year. That’s why it’s really important to get as many buyers as we can.”

Tyler Bock, 16, of Los Lunas has raised two pigs, Shrek and Fiona. He is an FFA student who said he enjoys participating in the event.

“It’s a good hobby to do,” Bock said. “It makes me responsible.”

Mariah King, 18, is a 2011 Los Lunas High School graduate who continues to participate in the expo. She said the preparation that leads up to the event is hard work.

King said a regular day consists of three hours of taking the animals out of the pen for exercise and getting them prepared to ensure no mishaps happen come show time.

“You have to exercise them and get them used to people so they don’t freak out at fair time,” King said.

As for the future of the event, Richardson said organizers are looking for a permanent home for the Valencia County Community Expo. She said the group plans to continue gaining community involvement.

“I think we are growing really well.”


-- Email the author at bruffner@news-bulletin.com.