The Show Season Begins for Los Fresnos FFA Students

The Show Season Begins for Los Fresnos FFA Students
Posted on 01/15/2015
This is the image for the news article titled The Show Season Begins for Los Fresnos FFA StudentsEither at their homes or the Los Fresnos High School Agriculture Barn, Los Fresnos FFA students have been preparing their animals for the big shows coming up in the spring season.

Others have been working diligently on arts and crafts projects.

The spring schedule includes:
  • Tip-O-Tex District FFA Show, San Benito Ag Complex, Friday, Jan. 16.
  • Cameron County Livestock Show, Los Fresnos Rodeo Grounds, Feb. 5-7.
  • Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show, Mercedes, March 12-20.

Students from several schools will be showing their livestock.

Senior Mike Cargill, president of the Los Fresnos FFA, has been showing animals since he was in the seventh grade. 

His family started with Santa Gertrudis cattle years ago, but now he has a bull, heifer and two sheep at the Ag Barn, and more animals at home.

Cargill is very familiar with the responsibility of raising animals.

"It takes putting your animals first. Whatever they need needs to be done before you can do anything else," Cargill said. "Basically, they eat before we eat. You have to go outside and take care of them, no matter what the weather is like outside."

Getting an animal fed and keeping their pens clean is like the practice before the game, which are the livestock shows. Shortly before each show, students have to wash their animals and shave them before showtime.

"It's basically like a beauty contest when it comes to get them ready to a show," Cargill said. "For lambs, you have to make sure their socks, which is the hair around the legs, are to perfection. We put oil on the lambs to get their hide loose. You have to put the lotion on their skin and keep it from getting wrinkled. With cattle, you have to scrub them down and shave them and slick them."

Cargill plans to major in Engineering Technology at Tarleton State University. "Just because you're in the Ag program doesn't mean you have to be an Ag major," Cargill said.

Junior Austin White grew up around cows and chickens at his family's ranch in Bayview since he was very young and will be showing his cow and about 50 chickens.

"I recently got these chickens so I have a new task instead of just feeding my pig," said White, who plans to major in Range and Wildlife Management in college. "The chickens get excited when they see me ready to feed them every morning. Once I get home before I do my homework, I check on my pig and my chickens. It's just like a cycle every day."

White, who won the biggest bird award at the Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show last year, plans to show the chickens at the San Antonio Livestock Show in February at the AT&T Center. "The more they eat, the bigger they get."

Senior Fernando Gonzalez is a rookie, and will be showing his dark-cross pig for the first time that he has owned for four months.

"This is my first year, and I'm kind of nervous," Gonzalez said. "I have buddies here who have done this since their freshman year. We live in a ranch now and ever since we had our first pig, I've enjoyed raising it since it was a foot long to a full-grown pig now.

The Livestock Shows are not just for animals. There are also arts and crafts shows, and students will be showing the projects they have been working on since the school year started. 

FFA BoatSenior Alberto Ochoa, who won first place in a metal art project at the RGVLS last year, is creating a shrimp boat out of wood to put on a clock. He will enter the project in the Home Furniture Division at the three shows and learned the trade from his father.

"My dad has been working with his hands all his life," Ochoa said. "He is a welder, and carpenter and owns several shrimp boats. I want to work as hard as he has. He is my inspiration."

Ochoa, who plans to study Business Management in college so that he can own his own business, plans to paint the boat white and red – his father's favorite colors.

"I will see what kind of offers I get at the shows," he said. "If it's not what I think it's worth, I won't sell it and give it to my father instead. I know he will enjoy it."

Many students like Cargill who grew up on ranches plan to continue the legacies started by their parents and grandparents.

 "I plan to have my own land breeding program at my future ranch, hopefully, and have animals to show for future generations."

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