Entries at 38th annual NAILE breaks all records

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

 The North American International Livestock Exposition (NAILE) has broken all former records for entries this year.  The achievement comes at a time when both agriculture and the national economy are experiencing one of the most difficult economic times in the history of the nation.

Entries at the expo have hovered in the range of 22,500 in recent years. This year the NAILE broke its record with an astonishing 24,685 entries. According to President and CEO Harold Workman, the record-breaking number is a testimonial to optimism within the livestock industry despite the current economy, which is being unkind to Americans and other nations throughout the world.

Workman said, “we have always known that America’s livestock producers place a high value on their purebred stock, and on comparison of those livestock that are best made in show rings such as those that are offered at the North American International.”  Even in these tough economic times, explained Workman, producers are paying close attention to producing quality livestock, and are making investments necessary to achieve their goals of excellence.

2011 marks the 38th annual North American International Livestock Exposition (NAILE) the world’s largest all-breed purebred livestock show.  It is operated by the Kentucky State Fair Board, and ranks among the top economic impact events at the Kentucky Exposition Center .  The other two are the National Farm Machinery Show and the Kentucky State Fair. The expo benefits the regional economy by over $15 million annually.

The expo also features the world’s largest purebred beef and sheep shows.  This year, 5,495 beef were registered, and 5,486 sheep were entered. The Quarter Horse Show at the NAILE ranks as the fifth largest in America, with entries confirmed this year at 6,822.

Traveling to-and-from livestock shows, such as the expo and its more than 140 shows, sales and other events is a huge financial commitment.

The NAILE offers the livestock industry an opportunity to become nationally recognized. Ten species of livestock competed at the exposition this year.

This year farmers and ranchers from 48 states traveled to Louisville, Ky., to exhibit their finest livestock. Cecil Goodlett NAILE Sheep Superintendant says, “National shows offer people a setting to see quality breeds, and trends. This allows them [spectators] to consider what the most ideal breed of livestock is for their personal enterprise.”

Exhibitors understand the importance of marketing themselves in the best interest of their farms and the livestock industry, a concept that Corinne Fetter says is a strong foundation point for the North American International.  Fetter is Director of Expositions and she has responsibility for KEC’s top three economic events. “Winning positions in show rings at the NAILE can actually add value to breeders’ herds and flocks,” said Fetter.  She concluded that showing at the NAILE is actually an investment in the marketing programs of purebred herds, as well as a way to assure that top genetic characteristics are being maintained in breeds.

Jeff Zinner, Assistant Manager of the expo, said the manner in which entries flowed into the expo prior to opening was an indication that livestock producers were making economic-based show decisions. “We usually receive entries on a fairly steady basis for several weeks before the expo starts.  This year entries were very slow at an early date, and then came so fast and furious in days immediate prior to the expo, that it taxed the capability of our computer systems.”

In addition to setting a record number of entries, the exposition has hosted visitors from five continents and 11 countries, including; Canada, Denmark, Costa Rica, Columbia, England, France, Australia, China, Germany, Poland, and the United States.

Internet entries increased by 13.56% over last year, and Facebook followers this year rose to 9,665.