AP NEWS

Spring ISD raises over $115,000 in annual livestock show and fair

April 5, 2019

All the early mornings Zechariah Rickett spent taking care of his steer, Kobe, in the ag barn have paid off.

The Dekaney High School junior earned the grand champion title for his 1,242 pound steer on Saturday at the Spring Livestock Show and Fair.

Rickett would often arrive at 6 a.m. to make sure Kobe was well taken care of.

“When you first get him, you’ve got to be very friendly with them. Let him get to know you. I think that’s what I did the most and let him meet as many people as he can, touch on him and stuff like that so he doesn’t get too afraid when he’s surrounded by them,” he said.

Since May, Rickett has been making sure to feed Kobe, clean out the stable, bathe him regularly, have him exercise by walking in a field and working to handle him. Steers should have a shiny coat and be well fed, but not fat, he said.

Thanks to Rickett’s work, Kobe sold for $5,500, according to a press release from Spring ISD.

While Rickett has also raised pigs and turkeys, he said he wanted to work with a steer when he was a freshman but was unable to do so at first because he needed to participate in FFA for at least two years.

Students can begin to participate in the third grade if they are part of the Spring Tri-Club, all the way up to their senior year in high school.

Participating students in their last year of school can also earn scholarships that range from $500 to $2,500, said Marsha Cook, president of the Spring Tri-Club, which hosts the event.

This year, the district raised a total of $115,365, according to a release.

In 2018, the show raised $103,780, which was used to help fund the show, hire the judges and provide scholarships to students, she said.

“It all goes back to the kids,” Cook said.

Like Rickett, other Spring ISD students participating in FFA often start their days before the sun even rises to get to the agriculture barns.

These dedicated students showed off their livestock raising efforts during the district’s livestock show and fair, hosted from March 28 to March 30.

Reyna Hopkins, a sophomore at Spring High School, would get to her school’s ag barn at 5:30 a.m. to clean up, feed and work with her goat, who she named Fiji.

“Goats in general like to eat anything they can see. I put a muzzle on him so when we take him out to this big arena, he won’t eat the grass and won’t get fat so he can exercise and run around,” she said.

Hopkins said she began working with Fiji during the holiday break in December and injured her right knee, for which she eventually had surgery.

Despite her injury not allowing her to work with Fiji for a month, she earned the title of grand champion on Thursday, March 28, during the goat show.

In the previous shows, Hopkins said she raised rabbits before changing her animal of choice to a goat.

“I just thought goats were cute,” she said.

Kierstin Taylor, a senior at Wunsche High School, earned second place during the goat show.

Like Hopkins, Taylor said she would wake up at dawn and be at the ag barn to work with her goat, who she named Little Bad Attitude.

“The more you work with them, the better your relationship will be. If you’re nervous, he’s going to be nervous. If you’re confident, he’ll be confident,” Taylor said.

Like any other goat, Little Bad Attitude also likes to eat and Taylor said she kept things away from him all the time.

“We have a treadmill and I just run him on a treadmill every day. We have to wash him a lot also because he gets dirty a lot,” she said.

While she will be graduating later this year, Taylor said she plans on pursuing agriculture education as a major when she enrolls in college and eventually become an agriculture teacher.

mayra.cruz@chron.com