Around 150 area 4-H and FFA students will be exhibiting nearly 300 animals at the 2016 Osage County Junior Livestock Show, which runs through Friday at the Pawhuska Fairgrounds’ Brantley Indoor Arena.

The 81st-annual event kicked off with Wednesday morning’s swine competitions. Sheep and goats are to be in the forefront Thursday morning and cattle exhibitors will take over during the afternoon. Friday starts out with livestock judging contests. At 5 p.m., an open-to-the-public barbecue will baste the way to the show auction.

Osage County’s OSU Extension Educator, Jessica Jantzen, said there was a good turnout of parents Sunday to assist with preparation for the upcoming show. Monday, she said the exhibitor numbers show that support for the event is remaining strong despite the current economic downturn.

"We were able to keep tickets to the barbecue at just $10, due — partly — to a donation from the Osage Casino," Jantzen told Osage County Commissioners. "We will also be holding a raffle for a half side of beef, or whole pig, to help with our costs."

There are nine 4 - H clubs operating across the county. Those include the Pawhuska-area’s Blue & Gold, Bowring and Bluestem groups. Osage County’s 4-H clubs are open to all youth ages 9-19. The club’s are free to join, she added. (For more 4-H information, she can be contacted at Jessica.jantzen@okstate.edu.

The Friday evening auction could include as many as 55 steers, 15 heifers, 55 lambs, 35 goats, 65 barrows, 15 breeding does and 15 breeding gilts.