Bay State Livestock Classic Celebrates 70th Anniversary on April 23 at UMass Amherst

AMHERST, Mass. – The 70th annual Bay State Livestock Classic will be held Saturday, April 23 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Hadley Farm on the campus of the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

This free event showcases animals that UMass Amherst students have groomed and prepared for competition. This year’s showing will be the largest in the history of the event with more than 80 students presenting. The? animals will be judged on fitting cleanliness and grooming) and showmanship (how well the students handle and show off their animals). Horses, cows, llamas, pigs goats and sheep will be exhibited.

“Each of the exhibitors is responsible for every aspect of their assigned animals, which includes bathing, training them to stand, walk and trot off on command,” says Jess Phetteplace, a junior in the pre-vet program and this year’s Livestock Classic horse coach. “It’s not always easy getting a 1,200-pound animal to go where you want it to go. But they’ve come a long way, and it’ll be a bit competitive between the students this year. I''m excited to see them perform.”

Most of the animals at the show are owned and cared for by the university. However, many organizations and individuals from the community contribute to the classic. This year Sara LaValley has lent eight llamas, Mapleline Farms has lent eight Jersey calves, and Devine Farms has lent eight Holstein calves.

The event is well suited to families, with a petting zoo of newborn sheep, goats, and piglets, as well as face-painting, balloon animals, hayrides, crafts, 4-H participation and many other activities.

Several local farmers will be offering their products, such as wax and honey, Mapleline milk, and Flayvors ice cream, a local favorite.

“The Livestock Classic is really a great community event,” says Sam Black, who heads the Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences. “We’re grateful that so many of our neighbors volunteer their time and their animals to give students a wide range of experiences with different species of livestock.”

The Bay State Livestock Classic dates back to 1935 when UMass was referred to as Mass Aggie (for Massachusetts Agricultural College). The event was originally called the Dairy Classic and featured four dairy breeds. In 1938, Professor M. F. Ensiminger had the idea of a livestock show for his livestock production class. That?show was modeled after the International Livestock Exposition held in Chicago during that time and thus was named the Little International?Livestock Show. The Dairy Classic and the Little International Livestock Show were combined into one show sometime between 1966 and 1969 and renamed the Bay State Livestock Classic.

All ages are welcome to attend this free event. The UMass Hadley Farm is located in Hadley, just south of the intersection of North Maple Street and North Hadley Road. The rain date event is Sunday, April 24. For more information, call 413/545-2363.

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