HARRISBURG, Pa. /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Governor Edward G. Rendell today invited the public to visit the largest livestock show on the East Coast as the 53rd Keystone International Livestock Exposition, or KILE, is held at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex & Expo Center in Harrisburg, Sept. 28 - Oct. 4.

"Some of the finest livestock in the world has been shown over the years at the Keystone International Livestock Exposition," said Governor Rendell. "Each year the show grows and we're proud to attract more than 4,000 animals from 27 states and Canada."

The cattle show has 16 beef breeds and categories, the sheep show has grown from six to 14 breeds, and the swine show now includes nine breeds. Throughout the years, the horse show has grown to feature nine different breeds.

For more than half a century, KILE has provided the opportunity to showcase Pennsylvania livestock as they compete with some of the best animals from across the nation and given producers a chance to exhibit and promote their livestock on a national level.

Supreme champions will be chosen in the beef, sheep and swine shows. EMM Sales & Service Inc., of Brownstown, Lancaster County, will sponsor the awards for all three species champions.

KILE relies on sponsorships to operate. In addition to EMM Sales & Service Inc., some of this year's prime sponsors are Kioti Tractor, Fort Dodge Animal Health, and Weis Markets.

Involvement from youth participants will be critical to the show's success, as nearly half of the more than 1,000 exhibitors are under age 21. Livestock judging and showmanship competitions provide young exhibitors the opportunity to demonstrate their skills and gain additional knowledge of livestock. In addition, nearly 100 students from grades nine through 12 will compete in high school rodeo events featuring professional stock animals.

"One of the most unique aspects of KILE is the focus on youth events," said acting Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. "Our youth have an opportunity to shine at this show, which keeps the next generation of agriculturalists engaged in livestock production and committed to our state's leading industry."

This year's show also sees the return of two cooking contests that are open to the general public.

The Weis PA Preferred Best Burger Grill-Off will allow grillers to compete with their best burger recipe. Pre-registration is required and a minimum donation of $30 is requested to support KILE youth scholarship programs. All proceeds from the best burger grill-off will benefit the Pennsylvania High School Rodeo and KILE scholarships.

The Keystone Classic Barbeque Contest will feature Kansas City Barbeque Society masters preparing chicken, pork, pork ribs and beef brisket barbeque.

The eight-day event is filled with a variety of livestock shows, sales and contests. Highlights include:

Opening ceremonies at 4 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 1, in the Sale Arena. Acting Agriculture Secretary Redding will offer welcoming remarks.
Thirteen horse breed shows, including the North American Six-Horse Hitch Classic Series 2009 World Finals at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 30, Thursday, Oct. 1, and Friday, Oct. 2. The champion will be named after the event Friday, Oct. 2, in the Equine Arena.
Twenty-seven cattle shows featuring 13 breeds, 28 sheep shows with 14 breeds, and 11 swine shows with nine breeds. Twelve animal sales are also slated.
The National Hereford Show on Friday, Oct. 2, at 9 a.m., featuring 214 entries.
Three youth contests, involving more than 350 participants will be offered including the Collegiate and Junior Livestock Judging Contest, the Keystone Stockman's Contest, and the Keystone Leadline Sheep Contest.
The Weis PA Preferred Best Burger Grill-Off is Saturday, Oct. 3 starting at 3 p.m. with the awards ceremony at 5 p.m.
The Keystone Classic Barbeque is Saturday, Oct. 3, at noon with the awards presentation at 4 p.m.
The Pennsylvania High School Rodeo is in the Large Arena Friday, Oct. 2, at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 3 at 7 p.m. Tickets can be purchased for $3-$5.

The show is open to the public with free admission and parking. For more information and a complete show schedule, visit www.keystoneinternational.state.pa.us or call 717-787-2905.