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The purpose of this Organization, as set forth in its ByLaws, is primarily for the education of young people in Texas, particularly in the lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas, in the care, grooming, management, showing and marketing of livestock, to cooperate with the various organizations otherwise training youth, to give youth an incentive to work harder in their training, to give them an outlet for the demonstration of the work they have done in the handling of livestock and in the growing of farm products, and to maintain public affairs and exhibits in connection with such educational programs.
In 1939, the Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show and Agricultural Exposition, the forerunner of today's Show, was organized as a project of the Mercedes Chamber of Commerce. The first Show was held in 1940 on the grounds of a local livestock sales yard with make shift pens and lean-to sheds. The Show continued to be held on this same property until 1949 when it moved to its present location at 1000 North Texas in Mercedes.
In 1947, the Show was incorporated and chartered as a nonprofit educational organization with a Board of Directors representing all of the four southmost counties of Texas.
Up until 1955, all livestock was shown primarily in tents. By 1979 all exhibits which were once housed in some 12 tents were in permanent buildings located on slightly over 100 acres.
Volunteers from all walks of life bankers, lawyers, accountants, farmers, ranchers, etc., and a dedicated Board of Directors, give endless hours of their time to make the Show a success. Without them it would be impossible to produce the Show as the cost would be excessive.
It is estimated that over 26 million dollars have been paid to FFA and 4-H exhibitors during the 67 years the Show has been in existence.
The Show has continued to grow each year and now ranks as one of the top ten in the State. People from all over Texas eagerly anticipate the event and come to enjoy the many activities including a parade, rodeos, competitive livestock events and the many, many attractions which are scheduled daily.
- Dawn Roe
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