Jackpot shows are a great way for FFA and 4-H youth to build confidence and prepare for fair. Check out our article Jackpot Shows 101 and the Value of Participation. To further showcase these amazing weekend events that take place every year from early spring all the way through fall, we talked with college sophomore and future animal reproduction expert Athena Luna who has been participating in Jackpot shows since fourth grade.
What is a Jackpot Show?
Jackpot shows are a county fair-like event where youth learn to show their animals, how judging works, and have the chance to win some money in the months leading up to fair. These shows happen throughout the Northwest. As a great resource for these shows, Check out PacWest Showman for the current schedule of Jackpot shows in Oregon, Washington, and Northern California.
Let’s Go Jackpot with Athena
Athena Luna, who started going to Jackpot shows with her parents at a young age, is an animal science major at Oklahoma State University. We were lucky enough to catch up with her at the Roseburg, Oregon Jackpot show in April. There, several of the kids she coaches took home showmanship awards and cash prizes.
"I’ve been doing Jackpot shows since eighth grade,” she said when asked about her Jackpot experiences. “I started out showing sheep until my freshman year in high school. That’s when I began showing sheep and goats and got competitive.”
As she went through 4-H and FFA, this Central Oregon native quickly learned how to show livestock, how the judging worked, and went on to use that knowledge at fair.
“I had a good coach. She made me a good showman in a short period of time. After jackpotting, I had the motivation to do more, which is when I found that I liked animal science and reproduction. My life would be very different if I had not done Jackpot.”
Eventually, Athena ended up doing an internship with Hummel Livestock in Illinois. That led her to her current college focus and love for Jackpot shows. Especially what it can do to build confidence.
“You can always tell who is doing Jackpot shows,” she added. “They are more prepared. Plus, they’re just more committed and ready to get thing done. Jackpot kids have a great work ethic. It just shows.”
For parents of 4-H and FFA kids, the cost and time commitment can be tough. But Athena explained that it doesn’t have to break the bank.
“I tell parents it’s okay to take some shortcuts. You don’t need the best trailer or fancy new gear. This is really a chance for kids to learn, grow, and become more well-rounded individuals.”
Plus, when you go Jackpot, it’s a chance to spend time together as a family.
Anytime she’s back in Oregon with her family, Athena heads over to Coastal for all of her country lifestyle needs.
“We get show supplies there and more,” she said with a smile. “The shelves at Coastal are always stocked. And they have bought my market goat at fair a couple times. Coastal is just super nice to kids who do 4-H and FFA.”
Coastal Offers Discounts for FFA and 4-H
If you’re in 4-H, FFA, OHSET, or WAHSET, Coastal offers a 20% coupon to help purchase show outfits, as well as 5% back in Coastal cash on eligible project purchases. See our site for more.