Hard work, diligence for students raising livestock

LOS FRESNOS — It starts with patience.

Raising livestock can feel like a grueling experience, but in Cassandra Park’s eyes, it is worth the effort.

Park, a junior at Brownsville Veterans Memorial Early College High School, won first place at Friday’s Los Fresnos Rodeo Livestock Show for raising a lamb in the medium breed category.

“ All the hard work paid off,” Park said.

But Park’s hard work will continue as she gears up for the Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show in Mercedes. She already has a few things she wants to work on, she said.

“My lamb was pretty jumpy, so it’s little things like when the judge touches it and it moves. I’ve learned a little control to make (presenting) better overall,” Park said.

Ava Guerra’s lamb can be a little stubborn, so it was a pleasant surprise when she behaved, Guerra said.

Guerra is part of the San Benito Future Farmers of America. She won a second place award for her lamb.

In her nine years of showing livestock, she said she has learned a general idea of what the judges like to see.

“They want to see muscle, and how you work with the animal. How it’s built. Whether the back is straight and firm,” Guerra said. “It’s all about showmanship.”

Guerra enjoys the excitement, and competing has taught her a thing or two about responsibility, she said.

Her grandfather, Guillermo Garcia, said it was because FFA puts students in leadership roles.

“It puts them in an atmosphere where they choose what to do. It makes them responsible for the (animal’s) life,” Garcia said.

Garcia encouraged parents to let their children join FFA or livestock shows if they express an interest.

“It helps them develop into better adults,” he said.

The livestock show will continue this morning with the judging of market hogs.