What began as a small event has grown into a major tradition that begins the beef showing season, so to speak. And it's back.

After it wasn't held in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Sierra Winter Classic Beef Show is returning this year to the Porterville Fairgrounds. The traditional event that's held every Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Weekend returns as the 33rd annual Sierra Winter Classic will be held on Saturday and Sunday. The show is open to the public and admission is free.

Youth beef showers from across the state participate in the event. The event has drawn participants from out of state in past years as well.

Those from across the state come to the event because it kicks off the California Junior Livestock Association Jackpot season. Those who show this weekend will have a chance to earn points to ear year-end prizes as part of the CJLA, which holds shows throughout the year.

Those competing this weekend will also have a chance to earn prizes and money. Prizes include buckles, jackets, vests and feed.

As of Tuesday afternoon a total of 175 heads of cattle were signed up for the event. There were 120 exhibitors who had signed up for the event for a total of 456 entries as many exhibitors participate in more than one category during the weekend.

That's a very good number,” Porterville Fair Manager Susie Godfrey said. “That's comparable to past years. We're very happy with it.”

Entries will continue to be accepted through Friday night. Those interested in entering can go to https://portervillefair.com/sierra-winter-classic/

The event will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday and 8:30 a.m. Sunday. On Saturday, youth participating will show market steers along with a new category for commercial Heifers.

Those showing market heifers will compete on Sunday. In every category competitors have the chance to compete in an A show and a B show each day in which they compete in front of a group of different judges in each show.

Another highlight of the weekend is the Showmanship category. While the A and B shows are focused on the animals, the Showmanship category is focused on the youth and how they show their animals. The Showmanship part of the weekend culminates on Sunday morning with the Showmanship Showdown in which top showmanship participants from the weekend compete to see who's the top in showmanship. The winner will receive $1,000 provided by Woodlake Growers Supply. The second place finisher will receive $500 provided by the Porterville Fair.

That's always fun,” Godfrey said. “When there's money on the line of course it's always fun.”

Youth who show their cattle and their families come from all over the state, so the show also provides a sizeable economic benefit for Porterville.

A lot of people get hotel rooms,” Godfrey said as the show also provides a boost for small businesses such as restaurants.

The genesis of the Sierra Winter Classic happened in 1989 when a small group of cattle breeders, 4-H leaders and parents wanted to provide an event for young beef exhibitors. The event is now a project of the Porterville Jr. Fair Board consisting of 4-H and FFA members ages 14-19. The show is designed to allow Jr. Fair Board members the experience of running a junior livestock show with the help of adult committee members.

The classic wouldn't have become such a major event if not for generous donations from feed company vendors, local businesses, cattle breeders and individuals.

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