Belton: Youth Fair Ends On The Right Hoof

By: Kristin Gordon Email
By: Kristin Gordon Email

BELL COUNTY (February 8, 2013)--After getting shaved, bathed and shown off, livestock rested after a long week of rigorous judging at the Bell County Expo. Boys and girls from Future Farmers of America to 4-H displayed their live projects during the Bell County Youth Fair.

This was the second year to show off hogs for Little River-Academy High School senior, Courtney Beechem. Last year she placed second and this year she placed eight and ninth. Beechem got involved with showing animals because her agricultural teachers were very positive about it and she spent a lot of time around livestock on her grandfather's farm. "They told me it was the easiest to raise, but it wasn't," said Beechem about raising hogs.

"The hardest part is letting the animals go," said Beechem, who has become attached to her hogs. "The easiest part is getting the hogs out there and having fun every day because they have such a personality."

According the Beechem, she gets nervous because there is so much time spent on taking care of the animals and it's kind of a "make or break" when you get out on the floor to be judged. The animal has to be at the right angle so the judge can view the right parts. "You also have to make sure they don't run off when you are trying to walk or show them."

Coming in at eighth and ninth place and not making a sale was disappointing to Beechem, but knowing that she raised the animals with care and made it to the judging ring was worth the hard work.

"It's definitely worth it," said Beechem. It's a good experience and it teaches you responsibility. It gets you out there with your animals learning how to treat them right and how to take on responsibility. Especially since your parents aren't supposed to help."

The next showing of Beechem's hogs will be in San Antonio and then a final trip to Houston. She has plans to attend Texas A&M and major in agricultural communications.

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