The 2013 CyFair ISD Livestock Show was held January 30th -February 2nd at the arena on Telge Road. Once again it was monumental success with all of the high school FFA groups well represented.
Thursday and Friday found the arena heavily stocked for each class, with stiff competition in each animal category and weight class. Judges continually commented on the excellent animals being shown and the difficulty of choosing the winners. The stands were packed with parents, supporters, and fellow students who were constantly kept on the edge of their seats waiting to see who would take ribbons. While the animals had been worked with for several months, some opted not to be on their best behavior in the show ring, yet the students still handled them with poise and strength, never letting on that a heifer or steer might have just shoved them into the pen wall prior to class.
By the end of Friday ribbons fluttered from pens and students sported new buckles for champion animals and showmanship awards. Students and parents alike could take a breath after days of showing and vying for a place in the premier auction sale. Saturday’s auction found the stands and arena floor packed as local businesses and familiar patrons turned out to support these hardworking kids. A new level of excitement was reached when a new price record was set for Grand Champion steer at $40,000, and a high price was paid for heaviest swine – $10,000. Grand Champion meat pen rabbits were sold for $4500, then unexpectedly donated back to the student, who now hopes to win with them again at Houston Rodeo. Turkeys, chickens, goats and lambs all brought in top dollar amounts, with 166 students showing auction projects. Even the hundreds of animals remaining in freezer-sale brought in great prices across the board thanks to the diligent work of students who solicited buyers and donations for the event.
But Saturday evening brought a change to the arena. This was a terminal sale. After months of raising, grooming, showing and selling, it was time for students to part with their animals, many of which acted more like pets than livestock. While some of the projects were going home with their students, most were being sent to processors for their buyers, or to Boys and Girls Country. Senior students who realized this was their last year to raise and show seemed to be hit hardest, and by the time their animals were loaded onto trailers, most had shed tears. Months of emotional investment, early mornings and late nights at the barn, working to keep animals well, and learning by doing, had finally come to a rather abrupt end.
When you ask the parents and teachers if they are glad show season is over, there is a resounding yes. If you ask the students, you get a mixed reaction. Some are relieved to have barn trips over and a check coming their way. Some truly miss their animals and will still recite its merits. Whether they won a ribbon or not makes little difference; students are already planning strategies for next year. For the seniors who are moving on it’s a bittersweet time – they still have FFA events ahead of them for this semester, but they will tell you there is nothing quite like showing an animal and all will miss it in some capacity. Those that can will be back next year to visit with teachers and underclassmen, sitting in the stands and cheering on their schools, watching as new champions are chosen, records are broken, and the cycle starts all over again.