Princeton students show well at Collin County Ag show
Date: Thursday, February 03, 2011
Photo by Jean Ann Collins
Princeton student Ashleigh Evans gives her a goat a bath at the
Collin County Ag show.
By Jean Ann Collins
PISD Communications Coordinator
Princeton ag teacher Randy Shaw would put his kids up against any students when it comes to their dedication and commitment.
These young people are deep in the middle of the spring show season, having just finished the 2011 Collin County Junior Livestock Show. This is their season and they couldn’t be busier. And, as with any extracurricular, it takes year-round preparation for the work being done.
“They learn a lot of responsibility with this involvement,” Shaw said. “That’s really what this teaches. They have a life in their hands, and it’s up to them what happens.”
If show results are any indication, these Princeton youth have been working hard. Students came away from the Collin County Show with numerous awards and accolades to represent the time they have put in caring for their animals.
Ashleigh Evans gets up early every morning and walks outside to her barn by 6 a.m. That might be a slightly easier trip than some students make who have to drive to the Princeton ISD Agriculture Center where their animals are housed. However, she makes up for the easy trip to the barn by having to care for six animals.
Evans said she is sticking with showing goats and lambs this year. And she said she chose the lambs because the other animals are too big and lambs are easier to work with.
“Showing lambs has cut down on the feed bill a lot,” the Clark 7th-grader said.
Tristan Gee is one of the students who travels to the PISD ag barn before and after school every day.
“I do this for fun and I like spending time with my pig,” the Harper 4th-grader said. “He stays at the ag barn, and I have to feed, brush and walk him every day.”
According to Shaw, some students start showing at a young age so they might show for 7-8 years while others pick it up in high school and show 3-4 years.
“My freshman year I started showing because I got in ag and my teacher asked what I wanted to do,” said PHS junior Garrett Hendrix. “When I became an FFA officer, I had to have a project so I decided to show.”
Gee participated in this year’s Collin County event, and it was his second show as part of the Junior FFA.
“The hardest part was learning how to walk my pig,” he said. “He was pretty wild for a couple of weeks. He weighs more than me so you have to practice so you can guide him around the pen using a whip.”
Next door to Gee’s pig at the local youth show was Brandon Ferguson’s pig, Elmo.
Ferguson, a 9th-grader at PHS, said he’s involved with ag for numerous reasons.
“It helps with school because if you don’t pass, you don’t participate,” he said. “And, I like competing. It takes technique to learn how to walk the pig and control it.”
Ferguson said he hopes to move on to showing cattle some day.
Huddleston 6th-grader Megan Bolan has experienced some success at previous shows.
Bolan won third place at a show last year and spent her winnings on this year’s pig and show stuff, including a new “pig” jacket nicely embroidered with her name.
“And I got a hair straightener,” she said.
Bolan enjoys the variety of showing animals and the responsibility it teaches.
“I like getting to show different animals,” Bolan said. “It’s a lot of responsibility because you have to take care of it. It doesn’t eat unless you feed it. I’ve been through a lot with this pig. I got bit and my pig got sick.”
Bolan got into showing animals because of her friend, Austrea Wayman.
“She invited me to come see her pig one day and I thought it was cool,” Bolan said. “At first it was hard training them because they don’t pay attention, and they can run you over. You have to work with them for a long time.”
Case Hendrix, a 7th-grader at Clark, got into showing because of his older brother. He soon learned how much he enjoyed having an animal.
“It’s a lot like having a dog but a lot more effort,” Case said. “I helped Garrett out in the barn and thought it was fun. Now my pig’s name is Charger, and he acts like a dog sometimes and wants to play.”
Lindsey Tarby hopes her involvement with the local ag program will lead to greater things.
The Clark 7th-grader has a pretty big goal as a reason to be involved with the shows because she plans to be a vet some day.
“I’d show all the time if they’d let me,” Tarby said. “The biggest thing I’ve learned is how to take care of animals.”
To help achieve her goal of becoming a vet so she can take care of animals all day, she is involved in the 4-H Vet Science program.
“Once I complete some basic training, I will be getting hands-on experience by shadowing a vet and watching them in their environment taking care of animals,” she said.
Although the Princeton students have a couple of shows under their belts this season, the ag students have much work ahead for this year.
“These kids don’t mind work,” Shaw said. “They’ll put in 13- to 14-hour days around show season. They get here at 8:30 in the morning to clip, set up pens, weigh. Then on regular days, they spend 2-3 hours a day with their animals.”
But Shaw said he wouldn’t change a thing about show season.I enjoy this time of year because I’m spending time with the most dedicated kids around.”
Photo by Jean Ann Collins
Megan Bolan prepares her pig before the Collin County Ag show.
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