Correction issued below
NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Just two weeks before the New Mexico State Fair returns in Albuquerque, another fairground announced it’s starting up a competing youth livestock expo. It’s an option for the 4-H and FFA kids who choose not to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
This comes shortly after some lawmakers urged the governor’s office to get rid of its proof of vaccination requirement to get into the state fair, but with no luck.
“I know a lot of my friends and family members are really excited for this show in Roswell and it’s been the talk of the town,” said 18-year-old McKenzie Luna. She has been showing off swine at the State Fair at Expo New Mexico for six years but will be taking her talents this time around to southeast New Mexico.
“We have an opportunity here to fill in a void,” Sen. Cliff Pirtle stated. The Republican lawmaker on Thursday announced that Roswell will be hosting the so-called New Mexico Youth Livestock Expo next month.
“[So] that they have a place where they can go, compete, and really show off their skills and hard work and dedication,” Sen. Pirtle added.
Sen. Pirtle explained this came in response to the governor’s updated health order mandating proof of vaccination for people attending and participating at the state fair in Albuquerque this year. He said that excluded many of the 4-H and FFA kids.
“With such a short time, those of us that weren’t interested in getting the vaccine, it was hard for that reason and then there was a time constraint because we weren’t able to make that deadline, as well,” Luna said.
Expo New Mexico on Thursday clarified it has not canceled or relocated any of its livestock shows and that the Roswell event is unaffiliated with the New Mexico State Fair. The state fair’s livestock shows are scheduled throughout the fair. A spokesperson with Expo New Mexico says they want to see the 4-H and FFA kids succeed, wherever they may be competing.
The New Mexico Youth Livestock Expo is happening in Roswell from Sept. 14-17, with a sale on Sept. 17. It’s unclear how many people have registered to compete.
KRQE News 13 asked the governor’s office for a response to the new show in Roswell amid the vaccine requirement controversy at the state fairgrounds, a spokesperson said they don’t have a comment.
A previous version of this story incorrectly identified the organization Future Farmers of America (FFA) with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). This has been corrected.