cow and pig anabelle simmons

Florida Agriculture and Wildlife Expo offers a Lot March 12-20

By Diane Bedard Posted on February 17, 2022

The Hernando County Fair has had its share of problems in the last several years. After 2021’s fair, many of the families of the children who brought their cows (steer), pigs (swine), chickens (poultry and pullets), rabbits, and other livestock to the Fair for the annual 4-H and FFA shows and auctions went to the Hernando County Board of County Commissioners to protest the poor conditions their children and show animals had to endure.

This year, both 4-H and FFA chose to hold their shows, clinics, and auctions with a different organization: the Florida Agriculture and Wildlife Expo. These local farm-families are hoping that their children will have quality conditions for each child’s “project.”

The Hernando County Board of County Commissioners have given their full support to the move through the adoption of resolution 2021-62. This means there will be no animals shown at the Hernando County Fair this year.

Dr. Nancy Moores, Hernando County’s 4-H Extension Officer, commented, “We are excited for this new adventure and opportunity. Hernando County 4-H livestock exhibitors work hard on their projects. Some  of them are showing animals they have raised from birth. They are learning about and caring for market animals, developing life skills, and having a variety of agricultural and entrepreneurial experiences. Please come see them show off their hard work and results at FAWE!”

What is the Florida Agricultural and Wildlife Expo?

Its mission of the Florida Agriculture and Wildlife Expo, Inc. is to educate and involve our guests by providing a first-class showcase of family-oriented programs that are innovative, entertaining, and fun for all ages, according to their website.

walker scott showing pig
Walker Scott showing his swine. His family raises pigs and cows for the show ring and for sale. Image by Danielle Scott.

This week-long event highlights Hernando County’s active agricultural scene, starting Saturday March 12 and running through Sunday, March 20 at the Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport, 16371 Runway Drive, off US41 in Brooksville.

“It is our goal to preserve and enhance the rich heritage of our agriculture and wildlife communities. We invite the communities, and visitors to attend and participate in a quality agriculture and wildlife expo experience whereby, agriculture, livestock, equestrian, and wildlife events, and exhibits are key components of the expo,” explains Deanna Naugler, FAWE’s President.

“We have been able to secure quality show rings and pens from the Florida State Fair,” Danielle Becker-Scott explains. Her sons, Walker and Julian, have been showing steers and swine for several years. In fact, Walker received the Intermediate Champion of Champions award at the 2022 Florida State Fair just last week.

It’s All About the Kids

The Scott family raises cows, pigs, and chickens on their farm in Brooksville. They sell quality animals to local 4-H families and offer clinics to help the kids learn how to raise and show their animals.

“As a parent it’s exciting to watch the kids learn and grow with their projects. It teaches them responsibility and compassion, and shows them how hard work pays off. We’re excited to be showing at FAWE this year where the focus is on the kids and their growth,” says Amy Harper, mother of three children who are showing at the Florida Agricultural and Wildlife Expo this year.

Her 7-year-old son, Jon Wayne, says, “I am excited to show chickens again, and I hope to win Grand Champion this year for my pullets. Last year I won Grand champion reserve for my meat birds.”

Jon Wayne, Louella, and Hazel Harper are three siblings who are showing and selling their 4-H projects at the FAWE Expo. Their “Buyer’s letter” explains how to get involved in supporting their projects. Image courtesy of Amy Harper.

Jon’s older sister, Hazel, 8-years-old, has raised a steer from the High Hopes Farm for this year’s project. “I have put in a lot of hard work with my steer ‘Cowboy’. I am excited and nervous because this is my first time showing a steer, but I have made a lot of new friends that have helped and encouraged me to do my best,” Hazel says.

While there is a lot of talk about getting quality, organic meat from supermarkets, at the Florida Agriculture and Wildlife Expo, the public can buy animals that these local kids have raised for sale. You simply cannot get better quality. The graphic above explains how anyone can get involved.

There will be lots to do at FAWE. During the week-long event, which corresponds with Hernando County’s Spring Break: Agricultural exhibits, craft vendors, food vendors, rock climbing wall, mechanical bull rides, mounted shooting exhibition, butterfly garden exhibit, Smoky the Bear, Florida Forestry, the Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission, and much more.

Sponsorships are Still Available

As you can imagine, it takes a lot to put on an event of this size and length. Sponsorships are still available, from banners posted in the arena to big corporate packages. If you would consider a sponsorship for the 2022 FAWE, please contact Danielle Scott at 813-361-3783.

Bulls and Barrels and a Mounted Shooting exhibition are part of the fun of the Florida Agriculture and Wildlife Expo. Image courtesy of Pixabay.

Exciting Bulls & Barrels Rodeo and Mounted Shooting Exhibitions

The Florida Peacemakers Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association will be holding a mounted shooting show on Sunday, March 13 from 1:00 – 4:30 pm.

Cowboy Mounted Shooting combines elements of Wild West Show exhibition shooting along with the skills of barrel racing, pole bending and reining while using two .45 caliber single action revolvers loaded with black powder blanks. The object of the game is to shoot ten balloon targets while riding your mount through a variety of challenging courses. It’s a timed sport in which the competitor who rides the fastest with the least amount of missed targets wins. Here is a glimpse of the excitement:

YouTube video

Saturday and Sunday, March 19 and 20, the Bulls & Barrels rodeo event is being held for some rough riding, barrel turning good time!

The FAWE – Brooksville Bulls and Barrels Rodeo is where spectators get to see tough cowboys take on some of the roughest bulls out there, single handed. Then watch as the barrel racers, along with their 4-legged companions, navigate the barrels while kicking up some dust. The tickets for the Bulls & Barrels Rodeo are $20 for adults ages 11 and up, and $10 for ages 5-10, and free for under 5 years.

fawe flyer

Florida Agricultural and Wildlife Expo At-a-Glance

  • When: Saturday March 12 – Sunday March 20, 2022: weekday hours 2pm – 10 pm, weekend hours 10 am – 10 pm, except March 20 10 am – 6 pm.
  • What: 4-H and FFA Livestock shows and sales, agricultural exhibits, craft vendors, food vendors, rock climbing wall, mechanical bull rides, mounted shooting exhibition, butterfly garden exhibit, Smoky the Bear, Florida Forestry, the Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission, and much more.
  • Location: Brooksville- Tampa Bay Regional Airport, 16371 Runway Drive off US41, in Brooksville.
  • Admission: $2 per person, $5 per family daily
  • Additional Activity: Bulls & Barrels Rodeo March 19 at 7pm and March 20 at 2 pm. Admission $20, ages 11+, $10 5-10, free under 5-years of age.

Cover Photo: Anabelle Simmons with her steer and swine. Image by Melissa Simmons

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