MERCEDES — As Edcouch-Elsa freshman Marissa Balboa walked her Junior Santa Gertrudis for the judge to see, Santa Rosa freshman Brandy Anaya was scrubbing her Junior Charolais in the stables for a later show.
Both were back at the Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show for the second year.
And both had their eyes on winning a grand champion buckle for the first time.
“I feel really confident with everything I did, and I deserved everything I got in there,” Marissa said after showing her animal. “I did my best.”
Marissa didn’t place, but she was happy to have participated in the event.
She said her hard work bathing, grooming and feeding her animal paid off.
And she plans to compete stronger in the open show on Saturday.
She said the competition was tough, but it was a good experience overall.
The 2018 Junior Santa Gertrudis competiton drew 90 contestants from around Texas.
“She’s done good,” said Miguel Balboa, her father. “And I’m proud of her and all of my nieces’ participation.”
Marissa and her cousins Amber and Ashley participated together in the competition.
The girls were teary-eyed. It was Ashley’s senior competition and last at the Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show.
Miguel said the girls worked every day feeding and walking their animals to show and have ready for the show.
Back in the stables, Brandy was keeping her Jr. Charolais, Ms. Hopper, clean before going on at 4 p.m. to compete.
“I have been working with her for two years,” Brandy said.
Donning her Santa Rosa Warriors Final Four T-shirt, the two-sport starter said juggling sports and FFA is a big challenge.
“You have to have a lot of time management with whatever you do,” Brandy said.
She said when she was not practicing her free throws or snagging ground balls at home, she was working with her animal.
“She likes when I rub her belly with the show stick,” Brandy said about her cow. “And she likes being rubbed on the neck.”
Brandy said the judges score based on the animal’s big top, big rump and shape.
In the past competitions, Brandy said she has placed as high as second.
“The livestock show is fun,” Brandy said. “We get to come show our animals and have fun with our friends.”
9 a.m. – Judging of Jr. Commercial Heifers
Noon – Judging of Jr. Longhorn
2 p.m. – Judging of Beefmaster Open Show
3 p.m. to 11 p.m. – Kiddie Karnival
4 p.m. to midnight – Carnival Midway Open
9:30 p.m. – Gary P. Nunn
2018 Jr. Santa Gertrudis Finals top three
Best of Polled Female
Kalli Kimble, Navarro FFA
Champion Star 5 Female
Lane Thomae, Los Fresnos FFA
Reserve Champion Star 5 Female
Trisha Pittman, Tuloso Midway FFA