Special Edition Livestock Show
by Ashley WIlde
Amongst the hustle and bustle of stock show season, exhibitors rarely take the time to be thankful for the opportunities they have to show livestock and learn life skills. However, regardless of the ribbons and buckles we win, the most important part of the livestock show is taking what is learned in the ring and teaching others. In 2013 I wanted to make a difference for those who are not as fortunate as myself and provide them with the opportunity to be involved in events that I have always had a passion for; stock shows.
The second annual Special Edition Livestock Show took place on January 17, 2014. This show gives students with disabilities the chance to have hands on learning experiences with pigs, goats, or sheep. Each student was allowed to choose one of these three species to work with on the day of the show. Tom Green County 4-Hers and FFA members volunteered to serve as buddies. The buddies were there to help the student by working with and holding the animals, and also teaching the student about how to care for and show them. After fifteen minutes of bonding time between the student, buddy and animal, the group went to the show ring to display the showmanship skills they had mastered. While in the ring, each student walked their animal around with the help of their buddy. A mock show was held and after the student answered short questions pertaining to the animal our judge rewarded them with a gold medal. The gold medals and event t-shirts they received served as mementos of an experience that the students would otherwise have been unable to participate in. One of the students was heard saying “I won, I won” when he received the medal. It’s moments like this that make this show the best.
Last year was the first time for the show; we had about fifteen students participate, with about thirty buddies. This year we more than doubled our participants by inviting a second school to participate and overall we had a grand total of forty-three participants and sixty buddies. The show would have not been possible without the generous help of our sponsors: Texas State Bank, First Community Federal Credit Union, Athletic Supply, The Concho Pearls, and Energy Equipment and Supply. These sponsors helped with a meal for each participant and teachers; t-shirts and medals.
We often don’t realize how truly lucky we are to be able to show animals and travel across the state participating in stock shows, many times we become too focused on winning and forget what an awesome experience showing really is. This show was a way to allow students who aren’t as lucky as some of us to participate in something that is absolutely amazing and life changing!