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Raising a champion: Livestock Show prepares youth for their futures

Posted at 6:35 PM, Jan 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-19 00:21:10-05

ROBSTOWN, Texas — The grand champion steer sold for over $27,000 on Saturday at the Nueces County Junior Livestock Show.

"Very proud. It's crazy, this feeling. To win the show for steers." Kiersten Koenning said.

Many FCCLA, 4-H and FFA students like 12-year old Kiersten get started early on.

For 85 years now the Nueces County Junior Livestock Show has been educating and supporting the youth of Nueces County.

"All of the proceeds that the child gets at the sale, they usually put toward furthering their education." Bonnie Berry, a long time supporter and scholarship chairman, said. "And then Nueces County Junior Livestock Show also has a scholarship committee."

In 8.5 decades, the Junior Livestock Show has raised 1.9 million dollars in scholarships.

But for Kiersten and other students, raising champion animals doesn't come easy.

"You have to spend a lot of time with them." Koenning said. "A couple hours, at least, a day. And have to work with them every single day."

Along with homework and extra curricular activities, students are challenged with raising an animal.

"Making sure it's fed. Making sure it has appropriate medical care. Walking. Exercising." Berry said.

Grady Lee won $11,000 for his grand champion meat goat.

"It's amazing seeing all your hard work pay off." Lee said. "You know, when you're working all this time over the past couple of months, it's good to see it pay off."

He plans to use that money toward his college education.

"I wanna go to Texas Tech University and pursue a degree in Ag business." Lee said.

But it's about more than just agriculture. Students are learning about entrepreneurship, responsibility and communication. Skills that can be taken beyond the barn.

"Everything that these kids do, they are so accomplished, so well spoken and they're gonna be our leaders for tomorrow." Berry said.