All Is Fair In FFA

AG Students Attend Texas State Contest

          Dust flies as people wearing cowboy boots, button-down shirts and belt buckles around their waists make their way to the stands to watch students walk into the arena to show the judges their animals.
          The Klein Oak FFA (Future Farmers of America) is an organization where students build a foundation of service, provide a bridge of agricultural knowledge and a staircase of leadership for endless possibilities. In late September, the 2018 State Fair of Texas Livestock Show occurred in Dallas where FFA members could present their lambs/goats they worked with during the summer.
          “They are just trying to keep their animals as healthy as possible, so they are checking them regularly, giving them feed, water, other things that they may need in order to stay as prepared for the show as possible,” FFA adviser and goat supervisor Mrs. Melissa Keck said. “Our goal at Texas State Fair is for students to do the best that they can, to show good showmanship skills, to show that they have worked with their animal and that that animal is prepared for show.”
          Along with Mrs. Keck, Mrs. Tatiana Richards is one of the advisers who oversees the lambs. This year they teamed up and took three students with their lambs and two with their goats that participated in the summer animal program.
          “It was fun. The students we traveled with know us a little bit better, and because they are involved in our program, they tend to get comfortable enough with us and they know our quirks. We are able to impart some wisdom to them hopefully and maybe educate them in agriculture,” Mrs. Richards said. “We like Texas State Fair because it’s a little more home town feeling, and it is not as competitive as Houston.”
          At State Fair there were 19 classes of lambs with around 15-35 lambs and a total of 84 sheep sold and a sum of 54 goats were sold within nine classes of goats. After six months and roughly 25 weeks, these students’ emotions were high in anticipation and later liberation because of the competitiveness in the ring up to the very moment when they received participant rewards.
          “Beforehand the nerves are killer. You’re just waiting and listening and you’re praying and you’re doing all these things ‘cause you’re completely terrified,” senior Klein Oak FFA Secretary Cindy Vargas said. “But once you’re there, you kind of feel a sense of relief. I feel very proud of my animal and it’s just a mix of emotions.”
          Although these students were focused on showing in the ring, they also got the chance to go around the fair and see the attractions such as the 1155-pound Champion Big Boar, ride the roller coasters and go through fun houses in between working with their animals and supporting their fellow FFA members.
          “At Texas State Fair it was very inspiring to see everyone’s hard work come together at the end,” junior FFA member Rachel Applewhite said. “It was exciting to be in the ring and get the experience of my first major show, and it gave me a new outlook on what I can do differently with my next goat.”