Behind the scenes of bull riders and country stars lies a group of young farmers ready to make their mark in the stockyards. With thousands of dollars in scholarships on the line, the success of every pig, cow, rabbit, and sheep depends on the students who raised them.
FFA competed in the San Antonio Stock show February 6-23. The annual rodeo competition is the most competitive event for Cibolo Creek FFA and attracts teen agriculturalists from across the state.
“I’ve been exhibiting my livestock projects for the opportunity to win ribbons, banners, money, and scholarships,” sophomore Laney Ferrell said. “I’ve shown a female swine project (which are called gilts) as well as a male swine project (called barrows).”
Ferrell was just three points shy of a $10,000 scholarship for her third place achievement in the Swine Skillathon, an oratory test over one’s general knowledge of the swine industry’s global impact. June, Ferrell’s heifer, placed ninth in her class alongside Ferrell’s barrow, or male pig, who also placed ninth out of 54 entries. She now has the opportunity to make profit off of her stock animals in future showings.
“Showing animals during the rodeo is a wonderful opportunity to show off all of the hard work FFA students put in day and night and all year long with our livestock projects,” Ferrell said.
Junior Tyler Bellamy received second place overall in the Rodeo’s annual calf scramble, a competition where dozens of students attempt to lasso in a young calf the quickest for a cash prize. He also has shown his two male pigs, Kris and Kevin, for the past five months. The proceeds Bellamy has earned this season will go to his livestock projects next year.
“Since I caught a calf during the scramble, I’m able to either pick a gilt or a heifer to show at the San Antonio Rodeo next year,” Bellamy said. It’s a fun experience.”
As of this year, the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo has endowed $210 million towards youth education.
“Competing in the stock show has given me the experience of trying my best,” Bellamy said. “Without my teachers and Cibolo Creek FFA, I wouldn’t be where I am now.”
~Taylor Trapp- Online Editor-in-Chief