The 2008 Nueces County Junior Livestock Show Kick-off Weekend was extraordinary, with records in the NCJLS parade's history and first-time events in the Richard M. Borchard Regional Fairgrounds' Equestrian Center.

The 73rd annual NCJLS Parade began around 10:30 a.m. with Leslie "Les" Brandes as the parade grand marshal, and Abby Rae Loessin, the 2008 Nueces County Record Star essay contest winner, as the parade marshal.

This year's parade included 125 entries ranging from floats, horses and motorcycles, to cheer and dance teams, and much more.

"By reports, we know that people really enjoyed this year's parade," said Ken Faughn, executive director of the Robstown Area Development Commission.

Sally Gutierrez, Robstown Area Development Commission's event coordinator, said the parade seemed to have a stronger build-up this year than last year's event.

"It went well, we had a larger crowd this year," Gutierrez said. "It was exciting and everyone was looking forward to it."

Winners for the 73rd annual NCJLS Parade were: best float: Buccaneer Commission (Buc Days Float), best band: Carl Lewis and the Dead Beats, best marching unit: Robstown High School Big Red Marching Band, best drill team: Tuloso-Midway Intermediate Kardio Kids, best mounted unit: Wells Fargo Bank Stagecoach, best vehicle: LULAC Council No. 1, Feria De Las Flores, best other vehicle: Tots & Teens Pediatrics, judges' choice: Chaparral 4-H Club.

Rosa Marinez, a Robstown native, said she has attended the parade over the past 30 years and has never seen it as large as this year's.

"I come out to the parade every year, I never miss it," Marinez said. "This year's parade was definitely the longest one I've seen."

Attendees for the parade weren't only from Robstown, though. People from all over the country came out to support the NCJLS 73rd Annual Parade, including Kenny and Dayrlys Buchholz of South Dakota.

"We are staying in Rockport for the winter and saw that there was going to be a livestock show in Robstown," Dayrlys Buchholz said. "We didn't know we were going to run into a parade, but we're glad we did. We are big supporters of the livestock in South Dakota and glad we came out to the parade. It was fun."

For next year's parade, organizers plan to have "more entries and definitely more bands."

"There was so much community involvement this year, it was great," Gutierrez said.

The NCJLS Carnival opened to the public Friday. Families and friends of all ages went out to enjoy the rides and games the carnival had in store.

Marco Gamez, 7, of Weslaco, got up the courage to ride on the bungee swing.

"It was so cool, I've never been on a ride like this before," Gamez said. "I'm glad we came up here."

The Nueces County Junior Livestock Show Alumni Bar-B-Q Cook-off was another big event that was held Saturday. This year's cook-off had 77 participants, and had teams from all over South Texas participating, from the Rio Grande Valley up to San Antonio.

Jason Floyd, who has helped put on the NCJLS Alumni Bar-B-Q Cook-off for the past two years, said the move to the fairgrounds has helped the event grow in a relatively short period of time.

"We had 26 more teams than last year's cook-off, and now that we have moved to the Richard M. Borchard Regional Fairgrounds, there is more room for our teams," Floyd said. "This year the cook-off went very smoothly."