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Livestock show provides showcase during pandemic

Calallen senior's 'bittersweet' final show
Keifer Gunn's final Nueces County Junior Livestock Show
Student takes home 2nd place this year
Posted at 6:11 AM, Jan 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-15 09:12:58-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The Nueces County Junior Livestock show is one event that was not canceled this year.

This was good news for Calallen High School senior Keifer Gunn, who has been showing pigs for nine years since he was 9 years old.

His pig's name is Romeo, a Berkshire breed.

"I have to make sure he has enough food, he's happy with his water, he's up and he's exercised, so you have to get him up and walk him around,"Gunn said. "Make sure he's relaxed and content with everything and then when it's showtime you gotta get you head in gear and get going."

Gunn was born with cerebral palsy, a movement disorder. His parents say it's bittersweet to see their son at his last show.

"Anything he's ever tried to achieve he's always done it," said his mother, Dawn Gunn. "And if he's never been able to figure out how to do it, he'll figure out a way to do it."

Keifer Gunn explains that it is sometimes challenging to get his animals ready.

"It's kind of hard for me but I still try to do my best," he said. "And if I do fall or a pig knocks me over I learned to get right back up."

As Keifer began his last year in high school, the pandemic changed the Nueces County Junior Livestock Show. It's an event he says he looks forward to every year.

"And you just don't get to socialize with everyone (this year), so it's different," he said.

In previous years, the Richard Borchard Regional Fairgrounds could be packed with people and different species of animals. But Nueces County Junior Livestock show officials say that had to change.

"This year we had to do where its more of a prospect show and each species has its own day," said Shalane Pinkerton of the stock show.

The livestock show has not been open to the public this year. It's led for the livestock show to turn to social media and the internet.

"All of the placings will be posted on our Facebook Page," Pinkerton said.

On Thursday, Gunn was one of those who placed, taking home a second-place ribbon for his pig Romeo.

Keifer says even though he won't be able to show next year, he plans to help advise those just starting out in the livestock show.

“It's very sentimental for me, I’ve just been doing this for so long," said Gunn. "It's an organization and program that’s very close to my heart.”

To stream the Nueces County Junior Livestock show, click here.