Nearly 250 members of the American Junior Simmental Association have descended upon the Forrest County Multipurpose Center this week in Hattiesburg for the 2017 AJSA National Classic.
Contestants from some 22 states and Canada compete in this annual national event. The contestants range from ages nine to 21 in three categories: junior, intermediate and senior divisions.
The contestants are judged on their cattle in shows, academic contests, poise and grooming. The cattle themselves are also judged.
Olivia Branum is a 16-year-old Poplarville native and intermediate division contestant.
“I started in 4H and when I got old enough to show in these shows I started coming here,” Branum said. "You learn a lot you make a lot of friends you get to see different places since it’s held in different places every year. You learn things like leadership, time management, public speaking skills, salesmanship, showmanship, good sportsmanship and lots of things like that."
The main events are on Wednesday and Thursday beginning at 8:00 a.m.