FFA finds personal best success at Williamson County Livestock Show


Alexandra Rima

Senior Emily Miller, pictured on right, sits in an FFA meeting pertaining to the County Show. “[The show] was fun; mainly it’s good experience because through FFA, I’ve gained a lot of maturity and patience,” Miller said. “I actually prepared my animal more than myself.”

Lexi Rima, Reporter

FFA has a history of competing well in past shows and district contests, but the Cedar Park organization has experienced its most success to date at the Williamson County Livestock Show. At this year’s show, the amount of FFA members placing high and of animals qualifying for sale is the greatest it has ever been. Overall, there was a total of 60 exhibitors, 72 entries, and 23 sale slots.

Many members received high placements in the individual classes; of these members is sophomore Kara DiClemente.

“It was a fun experience since it was my first time,” DiClemente said. “I didn’t think we would do that well because there were so many pigs, but my pig got fifth so we made sale.”

Before and during the show, members must deal with the initial stress of the animals, and the later stress of the judgment.

“Before the show, you sit by your [animal] and calm them because it’s all stressful; pigs [specifically] can actually get too stressed out and die,” DiClemente said. “During the show though, you walk with it so the judge can look at it. [What makes an animal a prize-winner] depends on the judge – the judge we had for our pigs [liked them] stocky.”

While many members placed highly, some made first place; senior Scott Neely took home a first place title and made the sale for his pigs.

“One pig, I wasn’t expecting to do well, and the other placed first in her class. Charlie [Hoppe] is still sour about that,” Neely said. “The competition was really fun and we got some blue ribbons to take home. The one thing I hate about [the show] is coming back.”

Some members did so well with their animals, they excelled to the champion level; of these members are sophomore Logan Duffee and junior Charlie Hoppe.

“I got reserve champion final for showing four sheep and all four of them qualified,” Duffee said. “[The show] was fun; I got money for college and a lot of good experience.”

The members who made champion level are rewarded for their efforts with money and titles, but of these members, Hoppe stands out with his three reserve champion titles for gilts and swine and his reserve grand champion market pig. He attributes this success to his history with FFA and farm animals in general.

“Of course there’s the prize money [for participating in a show], but I actually really like doing it,” Hoppe said. “I’ve been doing it since I was a kid and I live on a farm so I get to take my animals home with me. It’s kind of my hobby.”