RAWLINS – “(Jackpot shows) are actually how I make my money in the summer,” said Chase Taylor of Shoshoni, “some kids have summer jobs, but I have this.”
Taylor stated the cost of caring for animals vastly outweighs the profits from the local county fair livestock sale, but the Jackpot Shows allow her to continue her love for animals.
For Taylor, Rawlins’s I-80 Extravaganza Jackpot Show was just another stop during her annual migration through the Rocky Mountain Region. According to Taylor, the annual tradition requires her and her family to cover more than 7,000 miles to compete in 15-20 shows every summer.
“We’re gone every weekend and sometimes during the week,” said Taylor.
Brittnee Berg of Lander also used the Jackpot shows to cover the expenses of owning animals.
“Once you put so much money in it, you want to get some money out of it,” said Berg.
Berg stated the county fair sale rarely nets her enough to break even, given she is only allowed to sell one animal. Berg said between the Jackpot Shows and county fair, raising goats can turn into a profitable venture.
The June 29-30 show not only attracted gizzled veterans of the Jackpot Show circuit, but also locals hoping to prepare for the upcoming county fair.
Dashaal Baysinger and his brother Keston, in their first year showing pigs, made the trip from Encampment to practice showing off their hogs at their first Jackpot Show.
Though the Baysingers had raised goats for several years, they felt the goats’ high-strung nature would make an already new experience overwhelming.
“However you feel transfers to the goats real quick,” said Dashaal.
Despite being their first year raising market hogs and their first stop on the Jackpot Show circuit, the Baysingers felt the experience helped them tremendously as they gear up for the county fair.
“Just interacting with others and your pigs and learning how you can improve is great,” said Dashaal.
From learning how to handle their animal in the ring to what features judges look for, the Baysingers felt the show was more than worth the trip to Rawlins, and they hope to compete in even more shows come next summer.
Fellow Encampment resident Peyton Munroe also emphasized how the Jackpot circuit has further improved her ability to show during county fair, despite having shown animals since the age of eight.
“(I have learned) confidence and determination to keep moving forward,” said Munroe.
In addition to improving her showmanship skills, her years on the Jackpot circuit have furthered her ability to choose animals with award-winning features. Munroe’s eye for desirable traits helped her land Champion Breeding Gilt on Saturday and Sunday.
According to Kaylee Kerbs, one of the organizers of the event, the show attracted both locals and veterans of the Jackpot circuit, with 95 contestants from eight states making their way to the Carbon County Fairgrounds in Rawlins.
From Arizona to Montana, the show brought more than 400 animals to the fairgrounds over the two-day show.
“The distance people came to be here was really impressive,” said Kerbs.
While the preparation proved immensely stressful for both Kerbs and fellow organizer Amanda Knotwell, Kerbs stated the show proved successful in terms of participation and the show proceeding flawlessly.
“It turned out awesome,” said Kerbs. “Everyone seemed really pleased with it.”
The numbers of animals and contestants preregistered seemed to indicate the show would attract a similar crowd to last year, but registration on Saturday demolished Kerbs’ and Knotwell’s original estimates.
“We had no idea how many people would show up (on the day of the show),” said Kerbs.
According to Kerbs, the number of entries nearly doubled on Saturday, leaping from roughly 250 to 450.
Once all the entry fees and sponsorships were tallied, more than $10,000 stood ready to be given away as prizes to the 95 participants.
As for the follow up to this year’s expectation shattering show, Kerbs stated next year’s goal is to attract more locals to compete and learn the ropes of showing animals.
“There’s no better opportunity to prepare for fair,” said Kerbs.