Livestock shows are a staple of Oklahoma. The bond between animals and students, especially children, is an illuminating experience. Grand champion smiles were especially radiating from the Chisholm Trail Expo Center in Enid, Okla. during the second annual Gold Star Classic-AFR Special Needs Livestock Show.

On Sept. 12, twenty-five students from the surrounding area, and 75 FFA volunteers from across Oklahoma, came together for friendship, purple banners and Gold Star memories.

Members of the Shawnee FFA chapter were paired with a Gold Star participant to help guide the student throughout the day. FFA volunteers were able to interact with the student at the Petting Farm and helped handle the lamb or goat the Gold Star exhibitor showed.

“This event is very meaningful for the youth volunteers to interact with the Gold Star participants,” Vanessa Wiebe, AFR/OFU Cooperative Youth Coordinator, said. “This allows them to share their passion for livestock and grow their act of serving others.”

Wiebe said the event showcased the nature of leadership and generosity of Oklahoma youth.

“We have some of the best youth in the country and for them to individually take time to come here and help with this event is reassuring that Oklahoma’s youth are pretty exceptional,” Wiebe said.

AFR/OFU Cooperative is Oklahoma’s oldest farm organization. Over the years AFR/OFU Cooperative has been a leader in legislative, educational programs and cooperative development. For more information visit