I've been thinking a lot about the end of the world recently. I'm sure you all are familiar with the notion - the end of all mankind, up is down, down is up, dogs and cats living together. I'm sure you get the idea.
At least, that's the notion I get from hearing some people talk about the idea of beer being sold during the Nueces County Junior Livestock Show's "Kick-off Weekend," the main event being, of course, the Alumni Barbecue. More than 50 men (and a few women) battle it out with their grills to prove they have the best ribs or beef around for miles. The prize money doesn't hurt either, I'm sure.
"This show is supposed to be about the kids. How could they even think to sell alcohol there?"
This was a question posed to me by a customer who called Monday after a nearly 10-minute conversation that seemed to get more and more heated no matter what I calmly stated. In the end, I informed the angry caller to direct her call to the livestock show office, since it was the livestock show board that supported and approved the deal that would bring alcohol to the livestock show.
Now, I'm not usually a big fan of alcohol. I'll admit pretty freely that I have downed a few alcoholic beverages during my time, but as of late, I've kind of waned myself off for personal reasons. Still I have to wonder the reasoning behind the outcry.
Livestock show officials have stated numerous times, publicly I might add, that alcohol has been a staple at the Alumni Barbecue for many years. Hard to believe, right? Cooks drinking alcohol at a gigantic barbecue?
I think the trap most people have fallen into is not really gathering any facts before they start to protest. Most people probably heard the words "beer" and "livestock show" and automatically began cursing Global Spectrum, which manages the Richard M. Borchard Regional Fairgrounds for the county.
What they should understand is that the alcohol will only be sold during the Kick-off Weekend's events, primarily the Alumni Barbecue. Kids will not arrive with their projects until a few days later, by which time the beer will have already been put away.
The money raised from those beer sales, which factor into other concession sales, will go directly to the county and will also help to lower the rental costs of the fairgrounds' facilities for the livestock show. There's no exact figure for those rental costs as of yet, but $20,000 was a figure floating around in early September, so I don't really expect that to have changed much.
Needless to say, this is a sound move by the show in order to generate some extra revenue. The possible addition of a couple of live shows and a team roping event should also help trigger an expansion of the event we all know and love.
But back to the matter at hand. My main problem with any of the concerns over alcohol at the livestock show is this - why get so up in arms over something that is intended to benefit the youth?
It should come as a welcome surprise to know that there will finally be some form of regulation on the alcohol that will be present at the barbecue. No alcohol will be allowed on fairgrounds property except that which is sold from the concessions stand and security will be on hand to ensure that. In addition, those who appear to be intoxicated will not be allowed to purchase any more alcohol, as per state law.
Regulating the sale and presence of alcohol is something that should be applauded, not discouraged or frowned upon.
After all, change isn't always a bad thing. In this case, to me, it's the right way to go to help lead the show into the future.