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Why I love Oklahoma Youth Expo

By Bob Funk, Sr.

So I love that building a great business earns revenue/profits. And that revenues/profits help accomplish two important elements in my ministry: a) paying associates for their hard work; b) give back to communities via charitable organizations. And ranked high on my ‘favorite charities and nonprofit organizations’ list is the Oklahoma Youth Expo.

Oklahoma Youth Expo (OYE) is the largest youth livestock show in the world — 8,000 youth showing 13,000 livestock show animals — and it packs the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds solid for one week every March.

I am convinced this 100-year-old organization is developing Western values and cultivating a solid work ethic in our youth. In other words, associated programs, contests, competitions and scholarships are helping to shape participating youth into America’s future leaders.

In my 50+ years in the staffing business, I believe business executives, philanthropists, community leaders should be strategic and prudent with regard to investing monies into respectable charitable organizations. And while my family and organizations have been richly blessed so that we can give back to areas like health, humanities, the arts, education and workforce development, I particularly like organizations whose programs reward participation, hard work, Western values, the learnings of risk-reward, the ‘art’ of showmanship while encouraging young people to interact with peers, mentors, educators and sponsors.

To that end, I tip my hat to OYE’s Executive Director, Tyler Norvell and his talented team, the OYE Board of Directors, dedicated parents and supportive family members, and generous supporters. But most of all, I salute the organization’s youth who commit an entire year to their project. In my opinion, it is not really the win or the loss in the show ring that matters; it is the learned ‘risk reward’ and understanding that fundamental planning, integrity, time management, work ethic and friendly competition are some of the most important skills that positively shape a lifetime.

I remain steadfast in supporting OYE and I wish all stakeholders continued success in 2022.


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