Cougars Show Out at County Stockshow
The Hudspeth County Junior Livestock Show is one of the high points of the year in our communities – a gathering and a celebration – and the tradition endured in 2021, Jan. 28-31, albeit in smaller, pandemic-era form. And our Dell Valley youth made a great showing.
“Turnout wasn't as large as in years past,” Dell City School senior Tristan Smetak said, “and that's to be expected with what's going on.” Indeed, earlier in the school year, it was uncertain whether the event would be held. But, Tristan said, “I'm grateful we were still able to do it, because we enjoy it – and I believe it worked out great.”
It was a good weekend for the Cougar senior. Tristan took grand champion with his steer – in his first year competing in the category. He will travel later this month to compete in the San Antonio Stock Show. Tristan made more than $3,000 in the premium sale after the county show.
Tristan also took third place with his light-weight rabbit. Tristan said that “though rabbits are usually starter animals,” he hadn't worked with one before, and that he enjoyed “getting [his] foot in the door, into the realm of a new animal.”
Tristan is a talented leatherworker, and in the consumer science and Ag mechanics competitions, he took a first-place win with a knife case. He also tried his hand at welding, with a flat bed for a pickup – which brought him a second-place ribbon.
Tristan's knife case featured a Texas flag on one side, the FFA symbol on the other. He said his motivation for making the case was straightforward.
“I didn't really want to fork up the money for a nice case,” he said, “so I decided to make it for myself.”
Though it was Tristan's last year to compete at the county show, he said he plans to return next year, “just to enjoy the time.”
Tristan was far from the only Dell City winner.
Cougar seventh-grader Rhiannon Muise took first- and second-places in both the heavy- and extra-heavy-weight chickens. And she brought home a buckle – for the junior showmanship award.
It was Rhiannon's fourth year competing at the show – and her first showing chickens. She said she was a bit surprised that her showmanship went so well, but she said her chickens were “very chill” – likely because “we pick them up a lot, and when it was so cold, they lived in our house, next to our wood stove, for a long time.”
And Rhiannon continued a streak – winning the weekend's talent show for the third consecutive year, with the recitation of a poem by author Sara Holbrook.
Sixth-grader Kinsey Tate – in her first year competing at stock show – had a good weekend, winning first place, and the junior showmanship buckle, with her light-medium-weight goat.
Kinsey said she was nervous leading up to the show, and on the day of the event – but that her nerves calmed when the showing began. Kinsey's brother, eighth-grader Eli Tate, took second place with his goat – and he gave his sister pointers on showmanship, she said.
“He said to lean over the goat's head,” Kinsey said. “That's what I did – and I got the buckle.”
Kinsey said she felt she did “good for the first time,” but that she plans to step up her efforts, and invest more time with her animals, in the coming years. Kinsey also had a first-place win with a candleholder made from cedar posts – which she cut, drilled and sanded with help from her father. She said she had “a lot of fun doing it.”
Eli said he plans to show a goat again next year, as well as a pig. It was also his first stockshow – and he said one of the high points was the community feeling, and the chance to meet young people from across the county for the first time.
“It was easy to make friends,” Eli said. “I liked how friendly the people were, and how easy it was to fit in.”
Seventh-grader Brandon Crabb made an impressive showing in the consumer science and Ag mechanics competitions – taking first place, and junior reserve grand champion, for his hat/coat rack, a first-place ribbon for a paper towel holder, and second- and fourth-place ribbons for a welding project and a painting.
The hat rack was fashioned from pipes, horseshoes and discs, and painted. Brandon has learned welding from his father – but this was the most he'd ever done. The hat rack sold for a good price.
Brandon plans to compete next year with more welding and artwork – as well as with a rabbit and goat.
Fifth-grader Texana Scarbrough – in her third year competing – had her hands full, showing three pigs. But her work paid off – Texana took first-place in both cross-breed light-medium and OPB extra-light categories, and she won OPB reserve breed champion.
Texana had only planned to show two pigs – but the seller threw in an extra one for free.
“We had to buy a lot more feed, and it was a lot more work,” she said, “especially when I was walking one, and the other two were biting me on my ankles.”
But Texana said she likes pigs, and plans to continue showing them.
“I like that they get attached really easy, like dogs,” she said. “And you don't have to hold them upside down like chickens. You can sit in the pen and let them explore you, get used to you, and it's fun.”
Texana's fellow fifth-graders Zachary Mendoza and Aurora Bell also did well with their swine. Zachary took first-place – and breed champion – with his OPB medium-weight, and Aurora won second place in cross-breed extra-light.
It was Zachary's first year taking breed champion.
“I think I've grown and improved over the years,” he said, “because every year I look at the animal and see what I need to fix, and I keep on learning from my mistakes.”
In addition to her second-place swine, Aurora also placed in consumer science and Ag mechanics with her drawings. One was of a horse and barn, the other a close-up of an eye. Aurora said she has “always liked painting,” and that she recently “started drawing a lot of sketches, and decided to put some of them in the show.”
Sixth-grader McKenna Crabb did great job in consumer science and Ag mechanics – taking first place with a toothbrush/ pencil holder she fashioned, and second place with her “memory board.”
The toothbrush/ pencil holder was built from horseshoes and washers, which McKenna welded together with her father's help. The memory board was painted and decorated to showcase photos of special family moments – of McKenna's brother as a baby, of her father playing in a band in high school, and more. McKenna sold the toothbrush holder – but kept the memory board for herself.
McKenna also created a painting of a cactus, which she plans to give to her great uncle. McKenna said her uncle is a very talented artist, who gave her a picture of his, and that she wants to reciprocate.
For fifth-grader Corbin Gibb, it was the first time at a stock show – and he had a good time, and did very well.
Corbin won second place for his light-weight California breed rabbit.
“I liked taking care of a rabbit for the first time,” Corbin said. “I like the responsibility – and it was fun showing.”
In consumer science and Ag mechanics competitions, Corbin took first place – and junior reserve grand champion – for one piece of art, and second place for a second. Corbin used string to depict the state of Texas in his first-place-winning piece, and a cactus in the other.
“My mom thought it would be cool to do some art,” Corbin said. “I liked the idea – I thought it would be fun, and I was right.”
Corbin said he plans to continue competing stock show – and to move on from rabbits to “something a bit harder, like goats.”
The Cougar's youngest winner at stockshow was second-grader Everett Tate – who competed as a 4-H Clover Kid.
Everett did impressive work – and took first-place – with a cow skull he painted with the Texas flag. The artwork sold for $275. The skull was Everett's mom's idea – and came from Everett's grandpa's ranch.
“My mom said I should do a cow skull,” Everett said. “I twas trying to think of ideas – and decided I wanted to do a Texas flag.”
Everett will be eligible to show an animal next year, and he said he plans to show a goat.
Congratulations, Dell City youth, on your success at the 2021 Hudspeth County Livestock Show – we're proud of you!