CCFA Secretary Jill Bennett and CCJLA President Carl Plant spoke to the New Braunfels Economic Development Corp. on Dec. 9. The mission for both organizations is to promote agricultural heritage and provide civic and educational services, the pair told the 4B board.
“We bring students in, they show, and we let them sell their animals so they make a profit,” Plant said, describing how the CCJLA operates. “10% of the money, we keep, but everything else, we give back to the youth of Comal County. Everything we do is for them.”
When the junior livestock show began in 1968, there were 57 exhibitors and 92 entries, Plant said. The latest show totaled 585 exhibitors and 972 entries, he said.
As a result, the fairgrounds no longer provide enough space. According to Plant, animal pens big enough for two hogs or goats have to hold three and four animals each.
“They are crowded, and we need more room,” he said. “We don’t want a Taj Mahal. We don’t want a shrine,” Bennett added. “We’ve made do in facilities that are old, but we do need more space.”
Bennett and the CCFA agree, she said, noting a number of much-needed upgrades at the fairgrounds.
“In 2013, we had ideas for a new livestock barn, but here we are in 2019, and we’re readdressing this issue,” she said.
Along with renovations to the livestock barn and the surrounding area, which would include improvements to infrastructure, utilities and the addition of two new restroom facilities, Bennett said the fairgrounds need a covered rodeo arena and a new front gate and fence.
During renovations, the CCFA would also seek to add additional space for an arts and crafts building, she said. Future uses of the renovated fairgrounds include FFA chapter shows, benefits and fundraisers, dog shows, car shows, other arts and crafts shows and more, she said.
“We both envision this as a community-driven and -supported project,” Bennett said. “I want all of Comal County and New Braunfels to be a part of this endeavor.”