Dixie Round-Up generates scholarship money for 4-H’ers
JACKSON, Miss. -- Since the age of 7, Smith County 4-H’er Chase Boone has been showing mostly Simmental cattle in the Dixie National Junior Round-Up each year.
He is now a high school senior who will soon be moving on to college but not before a final appearance in one of his favorite livestock show events. He ended up exhibiting two supreme champion livestock -- the supreme beef female and the supreme beef bull -- and was named one of six premier exhibitors.
It was a successful send-off, if not a bittersweet one.
“I’m going to miss being actively involved in the show ring and being on the end of a halter leading into the ring,” Boone said. “It’s going to be a transition period because I’ve done it for so long and so many times.”
Champion animals are featured in the Round-Up’s final event: the Dixie National Sale of Junior Champions. Held Feb. 9 at the Mississippi Trade Mart, the sale featured a record 48 champion market animals, including eight steers, 16 hogs, 10 lambs, 12 goats, and for the first time, two hair sheep. The shows featured 1,257 4-H and FFA members showing 2,153 animals.
The Sale of Junior Champions Promotion Committee awarded 25 $1,500 scholarships to exhibitors who are high school seniors but did not qualify an animal in the sale, six $2,000 scholarships to premier exhibitors and eight $1,500 scholarships to owners of supreme champion livestock. In total, the committee awarded $61,500 in scholarships.
For his efforts, Boone took home two scholarships worth $1,500 apiece and a $2,000 scholarship for being a premier exhibitor.
MSU Extension 4-H livestock specialist Dean Jousan said the 54th edition of the sale was another massive success.
“The 2023 sale generated $456,285 that many of the exhibitors will direct toward their college funds or for purchase of a new project animal for the next show season,” Jousan said, “and each of them earned every penny. None of these youth started with a champion market animal. They put in a year’s worth of care, training and practice with their animals to advance to this event.”
Boone is one of the exhibitors whose future aspirations are closer to reality with the help of the scholarships he won. He plans to attend Jones College next fall and has narrowed down his university destinations to two, including MSU. He wants to pursue a career in agricultural business as a loan officer for a land bank.
For now, he holds many fond memories of his livestock-showing days.
“I enjoy the friendships that can be made at every level, whether it’s a local jackpot show, Dixie Nationals or a national show,” Boone said. “I’ve built connections to people who led me down the right path to a promising future.”
The sale began in 1970 to encourage young people to pursue livestock projects. Since then, it has generated nearly $9 million through livestock sales and awarded $1.1 million in scholarships to Mississippi students.