Local livestock show prepares 4-H, FFA students for ‘bigger shows, bigger honors’

Community supports allows Willis Local Show to reward winners with buckles, awards

BUCKLE+WINNER.+WIth+his+Reserve+Champion+Steer%2C+freshman+Briley+Tucker+makes+his+way+around+the+ring.+The+buckle+for+winning+Reserve+Champion+was+donated+by+Gragson+Farms.++Community+Support+allowed+

photo or infographic by Isabelle Dimsdale

BUCKLE WINNER. WIth his Reserve Champion Steer, freshman Briley Tucker makes his way around the ring. The buckle for winning Reserve Champion was donated by Gragson Farms. Community Support allowed

by Jason Clark, VOW Sports editor

The time in the ring is about 15 minutes. Sometimes the judges pick a winner in mere seconds, but the time spent getting ready for the short trip to the show ring is unfathomable.

It is the quick trips to feed before school. It is the hours spent halter breaking a steer or walking a pig to prep them for the show. Before the fifteen minutes in the ring are hours after hours of working with the animal in the sweltering Texas heat and the freezing cold of a bitter winter. 

For members of the Willis FFA, Willis 4-H and The Champion 4-H, the Willis Local Show, held on Jan. 9,  is the first time they showcase the animals they have spent months of hard work raising in order to refine their skills for future shows. 

The Willis Local Show is an annual event that has been held for over 30 years,” ag teacher Amanda Traylor. “It is a closed event, meaning, it is only open to Willis ISD students.  At the Local Show, the students are able to show in classes that are smaller than if they were at the county fair, and because it is only open to our students, the advisors are able to help students with showmanship skills.”

By participating in the show, students are able to gain valuable experience in the art of showing animals and are given advice and taught skills by the advisors present at the show.

I showed my goat and my heifer and I placed first for my class with both goat & heifer,” junior Isabella Dimsdale said. “The local show helps because it’s just like a practice for a major show, it helps prepare me for even bigger shows that have even more people with more experience.”

Having a show this early in the show season can prepare animals and students for bigger rings and bigger honors.

RESERVE CHAMPION LAMB At the local show, senior Danae Lesner and sophomore Kinley Waldrop show their lambs. Lesner and her lamb earned Reserve Champion honors while Waldrop and her lamb were Grand Champions. (photo or infographic by Isabelle Dimsdale)

“The local show helps me prepare for the show season by letting me practice and show off all of my hard work,” senior Danae Lesner said “A lot of amazing things have happened to me as part of my showing career, but one of the best things to ever happen to me had to be when I won the 2019 AggieLand Lamb Camp competition.”

All grades, from junior high students to seniors, are invited to participate in the show, which draws massive support from the community.

“This year, we had so much support from our community that we were able to provide prizes to each student who participated in the showmanship clinics, and breakfast and lunch for anyone who wanted it,” Traylor said. 

Many different animals are shown, ranging from goats to cows. All are raised with the utmost care and dedication.

“I chose to show cows instead of any other animal because pigs are not as nice as cows and goats are preppy and too small,” sophomore Briley Tucker said. 

By participating in the Willis Local Show, students are able to gain valuable experience in the art of showing animals and are given advice and taught skills by the advisors present at the show.

COMMUNITY SUPPORT. Taking a picture with her buckle sponsors from Christopher Automotive, sophomore Kinley Waldrop wins top prize in the lamb category at the Willis Local Show. (photo or infographic by Isabella Dimsdale)

I showed my goat and my heifer, and I placed first for my class with both goat & heifer,” Dimsdale said. “The local show helps because it’s just like a practice for a major show; it helps prepare me for even bigger shows that have even more people with more experience.”

Not only are the students there to learn about the art of showing, many sign up for the Willis Local Show to have fun and make new memories because when it comes down to it, that’s what the Willis Local Show is all about. Making memories.

I showed a heifer, and I was reserve overall,” senior Makinzie Noska said. “My goal for this year is to make as many memories as I can and grow as much as I can with June. The best thing that’s ever happened to me in my show career is the friends and memories I’ve made over the past two years.”