You’ve probably been seeing an uptick in visitors to Louisville and throughout Kentucky from the North American International Livestock Exposition (NAILE), which returned for its 42nd year to the Kentucky Exposition Center and runs through Nov. 20.
Exhibitors from 48 states and scores of international visitors from six countries are drawn to the world’s largest purebred livestock exposition. Along with the Kentucky State Fair and the National Farm Machinery Show, the livestock expo is owned and produced by the Kentucky State Fair Board in conjunction with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and the University of Kentucky’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.
This premier agricultural event is a natural fit for our Commonwealth, where residents continue to honor our agricultural heritage and where agribusiness remains a staple of our ever-changing economy. Unknown to many, Kentucky is the top producer of beef cattle east of the Mississippi River, ranks near the top nationally for its number of farms – the majority of them being small, family-run operations, and is also recognized as the Horse Capital of the World.
Started in 1974 at the behest of then-Gov. Wendell H. Ford as a beef-only show, NAILE has grown to include 10 divisions of livestock, all competing for nearly $750,000 in premiums and awards. Upward of 30,000 entries were registered at the 2014 expo across the categories of alpacas, beef cattle, boer goats, dairy cattle, dairy goats, draft horses, llamas, market swine, quarter horses and sheep. Some 200,000 competitors and attendees are again expected to contribute an estimated $16.1 million to the area’s economy.
The competition will attract agricultural professionals and livestock breeders from around the world. It also hosts the National Collegiate and 4-H/FFA Livestock Judging Contests. Particular interest is given to the industry’s future as 10 major youth judging contests are held during the show to prepare the next generation for tomorrow’s industry challenges.
Sharing the spotlight at NAILE is the North American Quarter Horse Show and the North American Championship Rodeo, where the finals for the Great Lakes Circuit of the Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association will take place, with $80,000 in prize money and the title of Regional Champion on the line.
NAILE is a welcomed addition to such Kentucky institutions as the Kentucky Derby, World’s Championship Horse Show and the Kentucky Horse Park. For more information, admission prices and show schedule please visit the NAILE website at livestockexpo.org. Better yet, come out to see this prestigious uniquely Kentucky event.
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* Written for the Kentucky State Fair Board
Published by: The Courier-Journal | 10-28-15 (Online) | 11-06-15 (Print)