OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The trucks and trailers started pulling up to the north parking lot at the fairgrounds Tuesday night, hundreds of them, loaded with animals and their junior handlers.

Oklahoma Agriculture Dept. inspector Rob Pinkston greeted them first, checking vet papers, most of the hogs and goats in the first hours of the Oklahoma Youth Expo (OYE).

Arlie Mitchell and her mom, Nicole, got up at 5 a.m. on day one of the show and left their house in Vici by 6 a.m.

“Dropped my brother off at school,” Arlie said, “and left.”

A neighbor and her PawPaw brought a trailer with a few hogs, two of them Arlie’s, Dolly and Patsy.

The Mitchells got them both in late August. Arlie, a 6th grader, has been feeding them both at least twice a day ever since.

“We show Thursday,” she adds.

She has friends who wonder why she puts herself through all this.

“I’ll be talking about it and they’ll say, ‘how do you think it’s fun. It stinks. It’s hot. It’s super early in the morning’.”

But she says they just don’t get it.

She doesn’t really like the big city but the rest is a blast.

“Getting to hang out with friends at the show,” she smiles. “I love doing this. It is so much fun to me.”

The OYE brings junior livestock competitors from all over the state for more than a week of shows.

Livestock Data Coordinator Kass Newell still staggers at the numbers which is why she staggers their arrival times.

“We have more than 8,000 exhibitors entered,” she states, “more than 28,000 entries so there are a lot of people.”

“We like to trickle a few in and out every day.”

By late Wednesday morning, the hogs in Barn 8 had been fed their breakfast buffet.

The hogs from the Mitchell’s trailer were still a bit jumpy from the long ride, but even they calmed down eventually.

Feed, wash, weigh.

Arlie was concerned if Patsy would make the weight required to show for her breed, but that’s all part of this world, an instant animal farm for a whole week, and all the excitement that goes with it.

For more information on the 2023 OYE including a schedule of events, visit okyouthexpo.com.