Livestock Show: FFA students practice showing before the big one

SAN BENITO — Pigs were squealing as a girl one-fourth the hog’s size ran from side to side trying to herd the creature into its pen.

It was a scene that seemed to repeat itself time after time.

Yesterday, San Benito CISD hosted students from Cameron and Willacy counties as they came together to compete in the Tip-O-Tex Livestock Show at the Sonny Brazil Agricultural Complex.

The annual district showing allows students to prepare before competing in the larger Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show in Mercedes in March.

Animals were judged over a two-day period with lambs, goats and cows being presented on Thursday and pigs yesterday.

In their cowboy boots and gem-studded belts, students of all ages practiced presenting their animals in front of judges.

In addition to showmanship, students are judged on their animal’s walk, muscle and size.

Vivian Perez, a Lyford High School junior, had problems with her hog early on when it suffered from a hernia.

“She had a good comeback,” Perez said. “This teaches you a lot of responsibility. You have to be there for your animal. It’s a lot of hard work.”

Perez has been dedicated to showing animals for the past eight years.

From steers to hogs, she’s done it all.

“It’s been a great experience,” Perez said. “I knew I wanted to be here and show anything I can.”

In addition to the livestock’s stature, students are judged on how well they handle the animal.

Rio Hondo High School junior Justin Trevino said his animal did well, but he himself is still hoping to improve.

“I feel like I can do a lot better as a showman,” Trevino said.

Trevino has been showing animals for more than a decade and is a member of his district’s FFA program.

“Being in FFA teaches you a lot of responsibility and leadership and prepares you for the future,” he said.

Cara Martinez, a junior at Rio Hondo High School, joined FFA her freshman year.

Her steer won overall grand champion, the highest award given.

“It feels great,” Martinez said. “Like all the hard work I put into it paid off.”

Deanira Vela, a sophomore at Lopez High School, said she enjoyed the challenge of raising an animal.

Even though Vela has been a part of the FFA program for more than a year, this was her first time showing an animal.

“I was always into animals,” Vela said. “That is why I got into an agriculture class. It’s a lot of dedication and staying afterschool. It’s challenging but fun at the same time.”

Which school districts competed?

• Harlingen

• San Benito

• Brownsville

• La Feria

• Rio Hondo

• Los Fresnos

• Lyford

• Lasara

• Raymondville

• San Perlita

What animals were shown?

• Pigs

• Goats

• Lambs

• Steers

What are the judges looking at?

• Muscle

• Structural correctness

• Frame size

• Style

• Balance