“It is with great appreciation and heartfelt thanks that we honor Ervin Johnson and the late Ginger Johnson of Kenedy,” said Murray Rudolph, on behalf of the show’s board of directors.
The following was read by Gretchen Dupnik as an introduction to the presentation of the award:
The 2014 Friends of the Karnes County Youth Show recognizes the inspiration and efforts of two community servants who have been involved in promoting youth in agriculture and home economics and the ideals of 4-H, FFA and FCCLA for more than 50 years.
Joshua 24:15 states, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” This verse exemplifies the very essence of how this year’s honorees have lived their lives, by serving God first, then family, friends and community.
I invite you to close your eyes for a few moments, take a deep breath, and imagine yourself back in the 1980s, driving down a dusty country road and giving thanks to God that you were able to make another cutting off of your hay field. It’s peaceful, cattle are grazing in a pasture, and there are jackrabbits playing in the distance. As you maneuver your farm & ranch pick-up through the gate back to your home, you see your children heading out to the livestock pens to feed their 4-H projects. You know that they will have a good experience at the upcoming Kenedy Junior Livestock and Homemaking Show. You remember the vision that your and your wife shared recently, as your kids showed dairy cattle and hogs in San Antonio and at the State Fair of Texas. Wouldn’t it be great for our children, and those of our friends, not just from Kenedy, but from Runge, Falls City, Karnes City and all points in between—to be able to come together and have a countywide show again?
Open your eyes — fast-forward 28-29 years. Look around you – the dream has come true! A first-class youth show, multi-purpose facility for livestock and homemaking projects, shown by hundreds of youth from all four school districts in Karnes County. Serious, but friendly competition, helping one another in the alley of the hog barn, sharing hay and exchanging showing and fitting tips. And in the Homemaking Exhibit Hall, attitudes of support and encouragement. Hints for making a perfect divinity candy and melt-in-your-mouth pie crust, not to mention just the right accent for a decorated wreath. Congratulations all around, and for some a pat on the back and wish of Good Luck for next time.
The young man with a dream was a 4-H & FFA member who exhibited dairy cattle and hogs at the Karnes County Jr. Livestock Show in the 1950s. Encouraged and supported by his wife, and other young leaders and businesses, he served as the first President of the new Karnes County Jr. Livestock and Homemaking Show in 1986-87. Determination and hard work led to a growing show in this, a central location. He was instrumental in securing the land that today is owned by the Karnes County Youth Show, and he and his wife helped organize annual fundraisers to pay for the land, and the barns and Homemaking building, restrooms and concession stand.
In addition to serving as board president and vice president, our honoree serves numerous times as superintendent for various livestock divisions. His wife, our other honoree, served as president and vice president of the homemaking board, and also was superintendent for the food show. Not only was she the historian of the organization, she collected the rosette-winning recipes of the Food Show each year, and was the force behind a group of ladies who published the 25th Anniversary Karnes County Youth Show Cookbook in 2012. Together, they worked closely with the Buyers Pool Committee, the Auction, Concession Stand and all facets of setting up & running the show. They worked closely with the newspapers and radio station as well as businesses and Chambers of Commerce throughout the county to promote the show and keep the community informed of the progress. These charter members helped coordinate the Livestock and Homemaking Show Catalog which was published from 1986 to 1995. They continue to support the show, even after their children graduated from high school. They have served on the board, they and their children served as Judges of the Food Division, and encourage young people to be involved.
A quote from the history page of the cookbook – “The undertaking and the process of creating one Karnes County show was a dream made possible by communities working together and learning to trust one another.” Our honorees believed in that, shared their vision, and led with confidence and pride.