FFA livestock strut at the show


Rae Gray

ONE GREAT GOAT: Senior Brianna Acosta works with her goat Hennessy to prepare for TCYS and other FFA contests. When a student participates in the FFA program, they are responsible for all of the care their animal requires.

Arushi Sharma, Reporter

As a person thinks about beauty pageants, they usually do not imagine livestock as the contestants. However, in FFA contests and shows, farm animals, such as goats and pigs, are directly in the center of the spotlight.

The annual Travis County Youth Show (TCYS), occurred from Jan. 16 to Jan. 18 and Bowie brought home over 50 individual awards. In addition to awards, students competed for scholarships and auction funds.

“This year at the show I competed with one goat and I received ribbons for my goat and my youth fair projects,” junior Grace Burden said.

When a student enrolls in the FFA program, they are able to choose the type of livestock they raise and show.

“We showed a variety of animals such as chickens, turkeys, swines, lambs, goats, rabbits and cattle. Throughout TCYS, they all go through shows by breed and weight class,” freshman Falyn Crenek said.

TCYS had a variety of different contests such as Poultry Shows, Market Steer Shows, and Market Swine Shows.

“The [TCYS] days are really long because we stay with our animals until about 10 p.m. without any sleep, and they can be challenging but worth it in the end,” Burden said. “It’s a really good way for students to bond and make memories.”

Senior Kaitlyn Cinque has found a way to make tedious contest preparation fun and exciting.

“With my steer, I work with placing his feet in the correct spot and keeping his head up high so that he gets used to holding his head up during the show,” Cinque said.

Prior to the contests, the competitors spend hours working on walking and posing so that they can put their best foot forward.

“All year our minds are set on making our animals the best that they can be for TCYS,” Burden said.

Shelby Stephens has been an Agriculture teacher and FFA advisor for the past three years.

“TCYS and showing animals is important for Bowie students as they learn responsibility and life lessons that are not taught in the classroom,” Stephens said. “I believe the barn sometimes teaches students more valuable life lessons than the classroom.”

When FFA members prepare for competitions such as TCYS, they have to dedicate about two to three hours everyday after school prepping and training their livestock.

“My favorite part of being in the shows is that it’s a way to see all of your hard work from the previous months coming together and paying off,” Burden said.

As an FFA student for the past three years, Burden believes she has learned skills that will help her in her future.

“FFA isn’t about raising animals, it’s about learning life skills and becoming a part of your community in a way like no other,” Burden said. “Through FFA, we learn how to help give back to those around us, and we learn about where the food, clothing, and shelter we use each day comes from.”

FFA members attend shows throughout the year, but TCYS is very important to them because it helps the students learn how to improve their craft before bigger shows.

“I love being able to have classes that teach students about where their food comes from and that have more hands-on activities,” Stephens said. “I also love advising animal projects, helping a student at stock shows, and coaching my teams for LDEs (Leadership Development Events), CDEs (Career Development Events), and SDEs (Speaking Development Events).”

As TCYS 2020 came to a close, Burden was grateful for the life skills she gained from the experience.

“It’s a really enjoyable time to be around the whole FFA chapter at TCYS and we’re all there to support each other,” Burden said.