The Greatest Livestock Show

FFA Prepares for Districtwide Event

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Photo Courtesy of James Sanderson

Junior Kaelyn Benz holds her show goat and sets up a profile view for the judges at the FFA Jackpot event on Nov. 7. In competitions like the FFA Jackpot and the Greater Leander FFA Show, students’ animals will be separated and will compete against other animals in the same class. “This allows the judge to see every angle of the sheep and how they’re built,” Benz said.

Cyrus Van Sickle, Reporter

This year, FFA has been working with their animals and preparing for different shows and events as usual. Starting today and running through Saturday, is one of their bigger events, the Greater Leander FFA show. The event takes place behind Leander High School in their agriculture barn and features students showcasing animals they have spent months caring for.  

Schools across the district are coming to compete. GLFFA lasts for three days, with rabbits Thursday, lambs and goats Friday and pigs and cattle Saturday. Senior and past contestant Michael Calderon is getting prepared.  

“The first time I did it, it was really hard,” Calderon said. “I didn’t know anything I was doing, and I was really unprepared. Most of the time, my animal got last place. But this year I’ve prepared myself better and started giving my animal better feed quality and training a lot more with my animal.”

Calderon said judges will look for specific performance areas when it comes to the judging process and what they are looking for in their animals.

“Because these are meat production animals, they are looking for how these animals walk, the muscle that they have built up and just any other things to make them look like a well-rounded animal,” Calderon said.  

The judge’s criteria is based on the criteria real farms use to raise the healthiest animals for  human consumption.  According to sophomore Elizabeth Johnson, the animals aren’t the easiest to deal with, but she tries to keep them under control.  

“Currently, I’m showing a goat, and I plan to keep it that way,” Johnson said. “Let’s just say goats are very stubborn, but also very loyal companions.” 

This is Johnson’s first year competing at GLFFA, and she has also been preparing for this event. A lot of time, training and hard work goes into these shows, so Johnson said this being her first time is a big feat.  

“During this semester, I’ve been doing a lot of prep work by working on my animal everyday after school and attending practice shows to build my skills,” Johnson said. “I’m feeling pretty confident and excited to know that I’ve come this far to be able to show.”