HORSES AND CATTLE AND BEER. OH, MY. MIAMI-DADE’S THIRD ANNUAL AGRICULTURAL SHOW WAS AN EVENT FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY
BY RODOLFO ROMAN
SPECIAL TO THE MIAMI HERALD
As a young boy, Miami-Dade County Commissioner Javier D. Souto remembers exhibiting a cow and a horse at a cattle show in his native Cuba.
“These events are held all over the world,” said Souto, whose parents were involved in the farm industry.
Three years ago, Souto spearheaded a movement to bring an agricultural and cattle show to Miami-Dade with ay eye toward toward boosting the county’s economy. He called the effort “a different form of tourism,” adding: “People come from other counties and different parts of the country.”
Last weekend, Souto welcomed residents, visitors and public officials to the third annual Miami International Agriculture and Cattle Show at Ronald Reagan’s Equestrian Center in Tropical Park, 7900 SW 40th St.
“This puts us on the map,” Souto said.
Participants watched competition among breeders, horse shows, cattle herding and cutting exhibitions, tractors and equipment, petting zoos and a mechanical bull. There was also an auction for Brangus cattle, livestock and genetic material. Agriculture is the second largest industry in the county, bringing in $2.7 billion.
Wearing a cowboy hat, Pierre Triksson traveled from Broward with his daughter Evelina, 4, to attend their first cattle show.
“We came to see the horse riders,” said Triksson, who is from Sweden. “She is happy to pet them and to see her happy makes me happy.”
Aside from farm animals, the show featured demonstrations and showcased more than 40 vendors selling fruits, vegetables, tropical fish, western wear, arts and crafts and plants, such as orchids. The two-day affair attracted potential buyers from different parts of the nation and world — including breeders from Texas, Louisiana and all over Florida.
Fabio Romero Martinez flew in from Colombia for the show to learn about the industry.
“This is an opportunity for Colombia to get informed of advances in the United States cattle industry,” he said. “This could better the cattle industry in Latin America..”
Martinez said it is a great way to present his country’s cattle industry to Floridians, as well.
“We are also promoting the technology that’s advancing in Colombia and Brazil and other countries that the United States could use,” he said.
For Debbie Rivers of JR Farms in Glen St. Mary, located about 30 miles east of Jacksonville, the event is important. “It helps promote your business,” said Rivers, who brushed one of 12 animals on exhibit. “You can pass out your business card and then they can call you up for business.”
It was her second trip to the show.
The event also served as a fundraiser for the nonprofit South Florida Autism Charter School, which recently helped build a school providing tuition-free specialized education for children with autism in Hialeah.
“This helps give kids life, learning and behavioral skills they didn’t have,” said Robert Cambo, a founding member.
The organization hoped to raise $100,000. A collection was held throughout the event. Proceeds of some beverages also went to the nonprofit.
At the event, there was plenty of entertainment for families, such as live music, fair games, and the fan-favorite Andalusian horse dance and equestrian ballet.
Hialeah resident Jonathan Delgado stood next to the bleachers as he watched a horse show at the equestrian center.
“Not a lot of people get to see this stuff in Miami,” said Delgado.
As for Souto, the event is not only an economic boon for the area, but a gathering of the community.
“For family it’s a tremendous event,” he said.