August rodeo will benefit Youth Fair

Planning is underway for a new rodeo event in Wise County.

The Chisholm Trail Days Rodeo is excited to bring a UPRA rodeo the the Wise County Fairgrounds Aug. 22 and 23, produced by the Flying C Rodeo Co. Owned by Will, Karen, Todd and Casey Cook, the Flying C is a family-owned rodeo company based out of Madill, Okla.

The Chisholm Trail Days Rodeo is a new event, however the goal is to provide a truly authentic rodeo experience for the contestants, spouses, family members, friends and spectators.

All money raised over and above expenses will benefit the 2015 Wise County Youth Rodeo and Wise County Youth Fair.

For information and sponsorship opportunity, call Zane Lasater at 940-255-9375.

Posted in News0 Comments

Youth Fair 2014

Youth Rodeo

YOUTH RODEO – Cameron Tucker grimaces as he attempts to wrestle a steer at the Wise County Youth Fair Rodeo Friday night. The rodeo was held at the end of the fair, which ran March 1-8. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Arena Action

ARENA ACTION – Jordan Lee of Fort Worth holds on for a wild ride in the bareback contest Friday night at the Wise County Youth Fair Rodeo. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Out of the Gate

OUT OF THE GATE – Ryder Taylor of Alvord continues to hang on even after his sheep sits down in the arena Friday night. Taylor hoped to win the mutton bustin’ title at the Wise County Youth Fair Rodeo. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Bucking Bronc

BUCKING BRONC – Jacob Smith of Paradse manages to stay atop a bucking horse as it jumps across the arena Friday night. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Picture of Perseverance

PICTURE OF PERSEVERANCE – Chase Sinks of Rockwall attempts to throw down a calf after roping it Friday during the Youth Fair Rodeo. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Posted in Photo Features0 Comments

Saturday sale tops $229,000

The 2014 Wise County Youth Fair ended with a sale Saturday that saw 129 projects bring $229,600 to their young exhibitors.

The grand champion steer, shown by Haley Rector with Paradise FFA, brought $11,000. It was purchased by the Champions and Blue Ribbon Club.

Grand Champion Steer

GRAND CHAMPION STEER – Haley Rector with Paradise FFA walks the grand champion steer through the arena Saturday at the Youth Fair Sale. It was purchased by the Champions and Blue Ribbon Club for $11,000. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

The organization spent $59,750 to purchase Youth Fair show champions and distributed another $42,800 to seven buyers’ associations to help with project purchases.

Reserve Champion Steer

RESERVE CHAMPION STEER – Seth Byers with Decatur 4-H enters the arena Saturday to sell the reserve champion steer at the Youth Fair Sale. He received $6,500. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

The grand champion market hog, shown by Carson Read with Decatur 4-H, and the grand champion market lamb, shown by Rebecca Lambert of Paradise Jr. FFA, both brought $5,500. Miranda Dickens with Bridgeport FFA received $5,000 for the grand champion market wether, and Seth Hakanson with Decatur Jr. FFA sold his grand champion rabbit meat pen for $1,250.

Champion Market Lamb

CHAMPION MARKET LAMB – Rebecca Lambert with Paradise Jr. FFA brings the grand champion market lamb into the Wise County Fairgrounds arena Saturday. The animal sold for $5,500 to the Champions and Blue Ribbon Club. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

The grand champion broilers, shown by Cale Laaser with Decatur 4-H, did not sell because Laaser chose to sell his market hog instead. Exhibitors are allowed to have only one item in the sale and must choose which project to sell if more than one makes the cut.

The grand champion agricultural mechanics project exhibited by Daniel McCurdy of Wise County 4-H sold for $2,500. Parker Griffeth with Decatur FFA sold the grand champion horticulture project for $750.

Grand champion baked goods each sold for $750. The winning exhibitors included Brittany Pritchard with Paradise FCCLA, FCCLA all-level grand champion; Savannah Richardson with Boyd 4-H, grand champion 4-H food ages 14 and over; Brianna Pewitt with Alvord 4-H, grand champion 4-H food ages 11, 12 and 13; and Madelyn Causey with Alvord 4-H, grand champion 4-H food ages 9 and 10.

Decatur exhibitors had the most items in the sale with 36, closely followed by Paradise at 33. Bridgeport exhibitors had 16 of the prize-winning projects, and Boyd and Chico had 13 each. Alvord exhibitors had 12 projects in the sale, and Slidell had three. Exhibitors showing under Wise County 4-H had three projects that sold Saturday.

A complete list of items in the Youth Fair Sale, as well as other results from the fair and rodeo, will be published in a special section of the Messenger next Wednesday, March 19.

Posted in News0 Comments

Scholarships honoring Young presented Saturday

Three scholarships honoring the late Roy Young were presented to exhibitors at the Wise County Youth Fair Sale of Champions Saturday.

Young was among the founders of the Youth Fair Champions and Blue Ribbon Club, and served as president of the group for more than five years. Since its inception, the club has awarded more than $1 million to Youth Fair champions and Buyers Clubs.

Scholarship Winner

SCHOLARSHIP WINNER – Ashley Pearson with Paradise FFA was presented a $2,500 scholarship in honor of Roy Young by the Youth Fair Champions and Blue Ribbon Club. Pictured are (from left) Brennan Williams with the Champions Club, Pearson, Young’s sisters Debra Walker and Linda Young, Walker’s granddaughter Bailey Boaz and Asa W. Johnson Jr., Champions Club president. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Two $2,000 scholarships were given by Young’s sisters, Debra Walker and Linda Young, along with Andrew Rottner of Wise County Challenger Charities, sponsors of the annual Professional Bull Riding event at the fairgronds.

Those scholarships were awarded to Clayton McGar of Decatur FFA and China Brattis of Chico FFA.

A $2,500 scholarship, sponsored by the Champions and Blue Ribbon Club was presented to Ashley Pearson of Paradise FFA. The scholarships were presented by Asa W. Johnson Jr., president of the Champions Club.

Financial Awards

FINANCIAL AWARDS – China Brattis with Chico FFA (second from left) and Clayton McGar with Decatur FFA (second from right) received $2,000 scholarships Saturday in honor of Roy Young. They were presented by (from left) Young’s sister, Debra Walker and her granddaughter, Bailey Boaz, sister Linda Young and Andrew Rottner of Wise County Challenger Charities. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Posted in News0 Comments

Wise County Youth Fair

Granbd Champion

GRAND CHAMPION – Haley Rector with Paradise FFA won grand champion steer Friday at the Wise County Youth Fair. The European cross will be sold today at the auction. A complete list of show results will be published in a special section March 19. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Afternoon Nap

AFTERNOON NAP – Makaya Wakefield of Paradise sits in the pen Thursday with her show pig, Wilbur. While the duo was waiting for their turn in the arena, Wilbur napped to ease any pre-show jitters. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Visiting the Fair

VISITING THE FAIR – Whitney Lamance of Boyd and her daughter, Harper, take a closer look at a lamb at the Wise County Youth Fair this week. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

No Horsing Around

NO HORSING AROUND – Carsyn Bailey (left) and Tanner Baker, both of Decatur, take off in the cattle penning competition Tuesday at NRS Arena. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Family Project

FAMILY PROJECT – Sydnee Mowery, 9, of Alvord shows off her ribbon and prize-winning goat with her mom, Buffy. Mowery showed Tuesday morning. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Constant Care

CONSTANT CARE – An exhibitor waters her heifers Thursday at the Wise County Youth Fair. The beef cattle show was Friday, concluding the 2014 Wise County Youth Fair. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Posted in Photo Features0 Comments

Youth Fair workout

Youth Fair workout

Despite living much of their lives inside barns and pens, the animals bound for the Wise County Youth Fair undergo a more rigorous exercise regimen than most people.

“Sometimes they look really tired after the treadmill,” said Shelby Drews.

The 17-year-old junior at Decatur High School has been taking care of a small flock of sheep she’ll be showing at next week’s Youth Fair. As the treadmill spins, one of Drews’ sheep marches along, picking up the pace as she slowly increases the speed of the machine.

High on the Hog

HIGH ON THE HOG – Parker Griffeth and Caylla Cotten stroll behind a pig at the Decatur High School ag barn Friday. The hog will be one of many animals shown at the Wise County Youth Fair next week. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

“I’ll put them on the walker for about 20 minutes,” she said. “Then they’ll run on the treadmill for about five minutes. And sometimes I’ll let them run up the hill.”

Before the animals ever make their way into the dusty show arenas from Decatur to Houston, their caretakers have spent months getting their beasts into shape.

Caylla Cotten and Katarina Scoma, a senior and freshman, respectively, at Decatur High School work daily to get their hogs the best physique possible.

“You have to walk them every day,” Scoma said as she softly swished a whip against Babe’s side, leading him around a little arena in the ag barn.

Scoma lives in a subdivision that doesn’t allow swine. But thanks to the high school ag barn, she and many other students still have a chance to raise these animals.

“I love animals,” she said. “And I thought this would be a great experience and helps teach responsibility.”

The diet is just as crucial as the exercise.

“The front legs on Babe are a little small so I have to give him the correct food for muscle growth,” Scoma said. “Feeding them correctly is a real art.”

“You want a nice line down the middle of their back,” Cotten said. “The judges will be looking at the ham in the back and strong legs in the front. You don’t want them to have a low gut.”

This will be Cotten’s second year showing pigs at the Youth Fair. She admits after spending so much time raising these animals it makes her sad when they finally go to market.

“I remember watching him walking up the ramp and into the back of the truck,” Cotten recalled from last year. “I cried for three hours.”

“I’m probably going to cry, too,” Scoma said. “I probably shouldn’t have named him.”

When she approached the pen Friday morning, the 215-pound hog stuck out his tongue, and then showed off a bottom row of teeth.

“I think my mom might cry more than I do when he finally goes to market,” Scoma said.

Even though these projects are kept at the school, preparing for Youth Fair is oftentimes a family affair.

“My family comes up here, and we spend a lot of time together taking care of them,” Drews said.

Animals aren’t the only show in town. Decatur ag teacher Joey Brooke has been working with some students for almost a year rebuilding a 1955 John Deere 40 tractor. Juniors Scott Gogniat, Jake Cobb and Cody Reed have invested more than 600 man hours de-constructing, refurbishing and rebuilding the antique tractor. They started working on it last May.

“We cranked it up for the first time yesterday,” Reed said. “It was a good feeling.”

Now, after months of early mornings and late nights, students hope their efforts and exercises are enough to win at the Wise County Youth Fair next week.


Bring out the hats and coveralls. Old Man Winter will again sweep across Wise County just in time for the 2014 Youth Fair.

A cold front is expected to blow through Sunday afternoon dropping temperatures into the 30s and bringing with it light freezing rain and drizzle.

Exhibitors will wake up to temperatures in the 20s Monday morning, and the high isn’t expected to get out of the 30s.

Evan Culpepper, Youth Fair board president, said he’s hoping the roads don’t get icy.

“We can’t move a show to a different time because we don’t have that much flexibility,” he said. “The shows will be at the times they are posted unless the judge can’t show up.”

He said no shows would be canceled, but they might delay the start of some if roads are deemed treacherous.

It could be an issue for the broiler and horse shows, both of which start early Monday morning. Twenty-degree temperatures are also expected Tuesday morning, but there’s no precipitation in the forecast. “I’ve just been telling everyone to bundle up!” Culpepper said.

The Youth Fair kicks off Saturday night with the Queen Contest starting at 7 p.m. at the Women’s Building on the Wise County Fairgrounds. Livestock shows start Monday and continue throughout the week. Youth will also be participating in food competitions, arts and crafts, clothing, photography and ag mechanics contests.

A complete schedule ran in this week’s All Around Wise. It can also be found online at Watch Update next week for a daily list of events.

Posted in Features, News0 Comments

2014 Youth Fair queen contestants


Caitlin Pruett

Caitlin Pruett, 17, of Slidell is the daughter of Steve and Cindy Pruett. She represents Slidell/Greenwood 4-H.

She is the District 3 4-H Council public relations chairman and County 4-H Council parliamentarian. She also served as County 4-H Council president and the Slidell/Greenwood 4-H Club president in 2012-2013.

Caitlin’s 4-H honors include second place in state record book, third place educational presentation at 4-H State Roundup and third place state food challenge team in 2013. In 2012, she was a Gold Star winner and won third place state food challenge team.

Her hobbies include watching movies, hanging out with friends and playing basketball. Her basketball honors include being named to the 2012-2013 TABC All-Region basketball team, second team All District and second team All Wise County. She was also the 2011-2012 District Newcomer of the Year.

Caitlin has also earned awards in track, including third place in the 800 meter run at regionals and a 4×4 relay regional qualifier in 2013 and an 800 meter run regional qualifier in 2012. She has also earned honors in other areas such as being named to the 2013 Region All-Star Cast and regional qualifier in One-Act Play, a state qualifier in literary criticism in 2012 and a regional qualifier in number sense in 2012 and 2013.

Her interests include playing basketball, which she describes as her passion, and she also enjoys running track, competing in UIL, One-Act Play, and other extracurricular activities. Her favorite subject is math.

In addition to 4-H, Caitlin is also a member of the Beta Club, student council and FCCLA. Her church activities include the Impact leadership team, Impact Praise Band, children’s church teacher and vacation Bible school teacher.

Her favorite friend is Marisol Millan.


Danae Brooke Meadows

Danae Brooke Meadows, 12, of Paradise is the daughter of Todd and Robin Meadows. She represents Paradise 4-H.

Danae has served as historian, treasurer and secretary of her 4-H club over the past three years. She won top junior goat feeder in her FFA chapter and has placed first and made the sale at the Wise County Youth Fair with her goats and pigs.

Other honors include placing first in the sixth grade talent show and being an all “A” student.

Danae is a member of the Texas Junior Livestock Association and the Paradise Jr. FFA. She is actively involved in activities at Cottondale Church of Christ where she helps with her Sunday school class.

Her hobbies include dancing, singing, art and hanging out with friends. She is also involved in basketball, volleyball, gymnastics, cheer, showing and judging livestock and UIL poetry reading. Her favorite sports are volleyball, basketball and cheer, and her favorite subjects are ELA and math.

Danae said she felt community service was very important. She helps with the Salvation Army bell-ringing at Christmas and participates in Shoebox Christmas. She has also collected books and games for children’s hospitals.


Amber Orr

Amber Orr, 17, of Alvord is the daughter of Melanie and Brian Orr. She represents Alvord 4-H.

She has served as Alvord 4-H vice president and FCCLA historian. Orr has also been a member of FFA and student council.

Her favorite hobbies include showing and spending time at the barn working with her heifer. She also enjoys photography and hanging out with friends.

Orr’s favorite sport is softball, while her favorite subject is math.

She has maintained a 4.0 grade-point average throughout high school, and she is a mentor for Alvord Elementary School.

Orr is a member of First Baptist Church of Alvord, where she is involved in the VBS worship team and FASM Youth Group and Core Crew.


Emily Egle

Emily Egle, 14, of Decatur is the daughter of Roger and Rene’ Egle. She is representing Chico 4-H.

Emily has held the offices of reporter and treasurer for Chico 4-H.

In addition to 4-H, Emily is also a member of TNT Volleyball and PCA Cheer Academy.

She lists her favorite hobbies as reading, exercising and cooking, and her interests include volleyball, cheerleading and showing goats. Emily also participates in monthly community service projects throughout Wise County.

Among the honors she has received are membership in the National Junior Honor Society, making the “A” honor roll and receiving awards in her favorite subjects – math and science.

Emily has been a member of the cheer squad for three years and the volleyball team for four years.

Her favorite friend is Nana.


Fallon Alexis Sachse

Fallon Alexis Sachse, 14, of Decatur is the daughter of Steve and Laurie Washburn. She represents Decatur 4-H.

She serves as the second vice president of her club, is a council delegate for the 4-H Clothing and Textiles Club and secretary for the County Council. She also serves on the Wise County 4-H FCS Taskforce and helps plan county-wide FCS activities.

Fallon participates in a number of 4-H projects including food challenge, food show, consumer decision making, photography, fashion show, fashion storyboards, educational presentations and numerous community service projects.

Fashion, she says, is her passion, and she admits to having a “sixth sense” for spotting the latest fashion trends before they happen. She enjoys innovation, originality, problem-solving and working with others who have the same passion.

Her favorite hobbies include designing, sewing, making jewelry and shopping.

Fallon is a member of the First Baptist Church in Decatur.


Angelina Newbold

Angelina Newbold, 10, of Alvord is the daughter of Wes and Nancy Newbold. She represents Bridgeport 4-H.

Angelina is treasurer for the Bridgeport 4-H Club. She is the recreation officer for 4-H Clothing and Textiles projects, and she also participates in photography and horse projects. She said she has enjoyed the various community service projects and the responsibility of holding offices in the Bridgeport 4-H Club.

She won grand champion in the junior construction casual division and first place in miscellaneous personal accessories at the 2013 Wise County Youth Fair. At the Wise County 4-H Fashion Show, she won first place in the junior modeling award. She also won county and district cotton awards. Angelina won first place with her 4-H record book at county and second place at district.

Her hobbies include horseback riding (both English and western), swimming and making jewelry. She enjoys reading and playing the guitar and piano and singing with her twin sister. The sisters won first place in a music/talent competition.

She has been active in her church her entire life and continues to be involved in choir and other church performances, feeding the homeless and participating in Operation Christmas Child. She especially enjoys opportunities to live out her faith by helping younger children.

Angelina’s favorite sport is soccer, and she has enjoyed playing with both the Decatur and North Fort Worth Alliance soccer associations. Her favorite subjects are math, logic and spelling.

She lists her favorite friends as her sister, Brianna McKeever, Lisa and Julie Morgan and Morgan, Jerod and Joshua Flynt.


Saffron Sunshine Smith

Saffron Sunshine Smith, 19, of Boyd is the daughter of Courtland and Scarlet Sears. She represents Boyd 4-H, which she has served as rec leader, reporter, treasurer and County Council delegate.

She was greenhand sentinel, chapter historian, chapter reporter and acting treasurer for Boyd FFA, and served as chaplain for FFA District 3. This past year, Saffron attended the National FFA Convention.

She was float coordinator and County Council delegate for the Wise County Horse Club.

Saffron is also a member of the student council and FFA nursery landscape judging team, which has made it to the state competition every year she’s been a member.

She’s on the “A/B” honor roll and has been named to the All-District academic team and honorable mention for varsity volleyball. She has won the FFA Herdsmanship award, the FFA’s Lone Star degree and grand and reserve champion with show cattle and crafts. Her school activities include track, volleyball, basketball and serving as varsity mascot her junior year.

Saffron’s hobbies include showing heifers, riding horses, crafts, scrapbooking and playing sports. Her interests include showing horses, cows and colored angora goats; spending time with friends; working on her truck (a 1970 Ford F-100) and traveling. During her high school career, she has been active in showing her Beefmasters.

She plans to attend the University of Hawaii’s Hilo campus to pursue a degree in environmental studies with a minor in agriculture and a certification in forestry management.

Saffron works for a local petting zoo and runs her own pet-sitting business. She enjoys teaching others about animals. She also keeps busy working on her family’s ranch.

She lists her favorite sport as volleyball, and her favorite subject is English.

Saffron is a member of the Rock Island Family Church.


Payton Tucker

Payton Tucker, the 18-year-old daughter of Damon and Sharron Tucker, represents the Bridgeport FFA.

Payton, who was chosen Miss BHS, is a class representative and has been a top-five finalist in the homecoming court for four years.

She was second team All-District in volleyball and was the top defensive player on both the freshman and JV volleyball teams. She has also been a state qualifier in youth fair photography for two years.

Payton lists volleyball as her favorite sport and photography and visiting aquariums as her interests. Leah and Taylor are her favorite friends.

She likes listening to music, hanging out with her friends and shopping.


Lauren Hart

Lauren Hart, 17, of Bridgeport, the daughter of Pete and Tobie Hart, represents Alvord FCCLA.

Lauren is student council treasurer at Alvord High School, and is involved in FCA, basketball, track, cheer and cross country – in addition to FCCLA.

She was on the all-academic basketball team the last three years. She went to state in cross country and regionals in basketball and track. She received second team All-District her freshman year in basketball and also received first team All-District her sophomore and junior years. She was also nominated homecoming queen.

Lauren’s hobbies include playing her favorite sport – basketball – as well as going to the lake with friends and spending time with her family.

Her favorite subject is English, and her favorite friend is her sister, Audra.

She is also an active member of Victory Family Church.


Bailey Sides

Bailey Sides, 18, of Runaway Bay is the daughter Leigh Ann and Michael Sides. She is representing Paradise FFA.

She currently serves as the FFA vice president and held the treasurer and historian positions her junior and sophomore years. She has also been a Beta Club member and cheerleader for three years. Bailey was junior class secretary and was class treasurer her sophomore and freshman years.

Her interests include agriculture, education and mission work. She lists Billie Rae Ward and Cody Carmichael as her favorite friends, English as her favorite subject and volleyball and baseball as her favorite sports.

During her high school career, she has garnered several honors including: Area Senior Skill Team for three years, Area Junior Skills Team for one year, Area Nursery Landscape Team for one year. Bailey was an Academic All-District athlete for three years and ran on the varsity cross country team all four years, earning MVP and team captain three years. She’s been a member of third-place and fifth-place teams at state, as well as district and regional champions.

She was also on the varsity volleyball team for three years, earning first team All-District two years and first team All Wise County two years.

Bailey has been a varsity cheerleading All-American two years and was Newcomer of the Year in tennis. She’s played varsity tennis and been the varsity track MVP qualifying for regionals three years.

She has also made the sale with barrows at San Antonio, Houston and county shows.

Her church activities include participating with the First Baptist Church Paradise Youth Group, Club 22:6, extended service nursery volunteer and missions to the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico.

She also serves her community by helping with the mini-cheerleading camp, FFA canned food drives, volunteering at Beautiful Feet Homeless Shelter, being a concession stand volunteer, a vacation Bible school teacher, babysitting through Beat Club, participating in Sarah’s Cure Triathalon, making shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child, and participating in Relay For Life.

She plans to attend Texas Tech University in the fall to pursue an English degree. She hopes to specialize in elementary education. She also hopes to one day meet a good Christian man to marry and raise a family with.


Macie Moss

Seventeen-year-old Macie Moss, the daughter of Craig and Leanna Moss, is representing the Chico FFA.

Macie, who is president of the Chico FFA Chapter, also serves as District 1 FFA historian and is president of the Chico High School class of 2015.

She had the champion American heifer in the Chico Buckle Show in 2013 and was on the champion Fort Worth Herdsmanship team. She is the reigning Chico FFA Sweetheart.

She is a member of the National Honor Society, the 2014 prom committee and the Chico FFA beef heifer show team.

Macie’s interests are public speaking and beef cattle. She plans to attend Tarleton State University and earn a degree in ag communications.

She lists her favorite hobbies as baking, showing Beefmaster cattle and shopping at thrift stores. Her favorite friends are her mom and her dog, Rudy. Cheerleading and football are her favorite sports, and English is her favorite subject.

She’s a member of the Cundiff Baptist Church.


DeeDra Phipps

Eighteen-year-old DeeDra Phipps of Boyd, the daughter of Dee Phipps, represents Boyd FCCLA.

Her hobbies include tennis, work and spending time with friends and her family. Her best friend is her twin sister, Destini Phipps.

Phipps’ favorite sport is cheerleading, and her favorite subject is cheer class.

She was homecoming princess her sophomore year.


McKenna Robertson

McKenna Robertson, 18, of Paradise is the daughter of Angela Hensley. She represents Paradise FCCLA.

McKenna enjoys camping, hanging out with friends and family and going to concerts.

Her interests include photography and traveling. Her favorite school subject is government, and her favorite sport is volleyball.


Kelcei Ferguson

Kelcei Ferguson, 19, of Boyd is the daughter of Clint and Brandi Ferguson. She is representing Boyd FFA.

Kelcei is a member of the National Honor Society and was named to the 2013-2014 volleyball academic All-State team by the Texas Girls Coaches Association. Volleyball is her favorite sport.

Her favorite hobbies include hunting, bow fishing, camping, snow skiing, volleyball, softball, spending time with friends and family, being on the water, riding horses and showing goats. Her interests include taking care of animals and taking care of family.

Kelcei’s favorite subject is anatomy.


Hope Webb

Hope Webb, 16, of Chico is the daughter of Marcia Webb. She represents Chico FCCLA.

She is a member of the student council, FCA president and a cheerleader.

Hope’s favorite hobbies include volleyball, basketball and cheering.

She is an A/B honor roll student, and her favorite subject is algebra.

Her favorite friend is Brianna Martin.

Posted in News0 Comments

Wise County Sheriff’s Posse bows out of Youth Fair rodeo

The Wise County Sheriff’s Posse has announced it will not put on the Youth Fair rodeo this year.

Nevertheless, the show will go on.

Zane Lasater of Decatur has agreed to stage the event, which is scheduled for March 7-8.

The former Posse member said he’s stepped in to “keep the youth involved with rodeo.” He plans to give any proceeds from the event to the Youth Fair Committee.

“It’s for the youth and that’s where I want to keep it,” he said. “I’m not doing it for my benefit or anybody else’s.”

Posse President Russell Stephens said his group can’t afford to put on the event.

“We can’t afford to put on the Youth Fair rodeo since our revenue has been shut off,” he said. “It’s about an $8,000 expense that we can’t afford. We have no revenue whatsoever.”

The Posse, which previously had a long-term lease with the county for the fairgrounds, made money by renting the facility to other organizations. But the county did not renew the Posse’s lease last year and took possession of the grounds.

Youth Fair board president Evan Culpepper said he was notified Monday that the Posse would not put on the rodeo. With just five weeks until the event, it didn’t leave much time for another party to put anything together.

“I had talked to Zane a while back,” said Culpepper, “and when I found out yesterday, I contacted him again. He called me (Tuesday morning) and said he’d made arrangements, he’d do it. At least we have a rodeo going on.”

Time is short, but Lasater is trying to nail down the event list, and he’s hoping to find sponsors.

“It’ll be a lot of work to get it done,” he said, “but we’ll get there.”

To sponsor the rodeo or volunteer during the event, call Lasater at 940-210-0050 or Frieda Haley at 940-627-6158.

Posted in News2 Comments

Disappearing dairies: Changing landscape has led to decrease in dairy entries at Youth Fair

FAMILY TRADITION - Four generations of the Cox family share the sunlight with award-winning heifer "Cathy" at the family farm near Paradise. They are (from left) son Jerry, father Carl, grandson Chad, great-grandson Alan, 1, and grandson Cyle Cox. Messenger photo by Dave Rogers

A window into Wise County’s agricultural history is closing.

When the 2012 Wise County Youth Fair begins its week-long run Monday, it will have a schedule that’s missing something.

The Dairy Heifer Sale has been eliminated. And you’d better not be late if you want to see some dairy cow judging. (The Dairy Cattle Show is at 6 p.m. Tuesday.)

“We still have the Dairy Show for premiums and prizes,” said Jerry Cox, dairy cattle superintendent for the youth fair. “But this might be the last year for it.

“Last year we had only two people with entries, and we had two awards to give away. There was not much competition.”

Dairying, once a staple of Wise County life, is a virtually dead industry in these parts nowadays. Only a handful of folks still sell milk.

“In 1951, there were 305 dairies in Wise County, just about one on every farm,” recalls Carl Cox, Jerry’s dad, who opened his dairy near Paradise on 185 acres he bought in 1952.

“At one time, Wise County was flip-flopping with Hopkins County (county seat Sulphur Springs) for No. 1 in the state for the number of dairies,” Jerry Cox said.

According to the Texas State Historical Society, as recently as the 1980s Wise, Hopkins and Erath County (county seat Stephenville) accounted for about 30 percent of the state’s dairy product.

The 60th edition of the Youth Fair will feature 2,500 entries. Fewer than 1 percent of those will be dairy cattle.

A year ago, cows owned by Katrina Watson and Cyle Cox won 20 of 21 ribbons awarded at the Dairy Show. Watson, whose family still runs one of Wise County’s working dairies, won the $5,000 prize for Grand Champion Dairy Heifer. Cyle, youngest son of Jerry, had the Reserve Grand Champion.

A sophomore at Paradise High School, Cyle has been competing at the Youth Fair since joining 4-H in the third grade as did his older brothers Chad and Clint before him.

Jerry, dairy superintendent for 17 years and a former Youth Fair competitor himself, recalls, “We used to have 70 or 80 animals in the barn for a Dairy Show and a sale for the dairy animals only.”

Cyle said he’s never competed against more than 10 people at the Wise County Youth Fair.

The numbers were much greater earlier this school year when he showed dairy cows at Waco’s Heart of Texas show in October, the Fort Worth Livestock show in January and the San Antonio Livestock show in February.

His 3-year-old “Cathy” won Grand Champion Open Show in Fort Worth and again at San Antonio. He also won second-in-class awards at both events with a 14- to 18-month heifer, “Natasha,” and won a pair of seconds in Waco.

While the prize money at Fort Worth was $500 for first, he received “a sizable scholarship, payable to the university of his choice,” for winning the San Antonio show, his dad said.

Fort Worth reserves its scholarships for high school seniors, and Cyle plans to be competing for one there in the winter of 2014. If this is, in fact, the final year for a Dairy Cattle Show at the Wise County Youth Fair, Cyle Cox will stay busy preparing and showing his heifers at out-of-town shows.

Some say the decline of the dairies here was brought about by onerous government regulation. Others say incentives paid by Panhandle concerns caused the shift of operations up there. All admit that dairying, a seven-day-a-week, 365-day-a-year business that required working from long before sunup until well after sundown, isn’t that attractive in the 21st century.

“You just wore out after awhile,” said Linda Downe, whose family dairy was perhaps the county’s largest when it shut down.

Jerry left his job as dean of men at Tarleton State University in Stephenville to return home and work the family dairy farm with his parents.

His eldest son, Chad, was studying to be an ag teacher at Tarleton, “but my plan was to come home and milk cows,” he said. “Two months after I left home for college, the dairy got sold.”

That would be in 1995 when Carl said he sold his 120 milking cows to a man from Stephenville.

“The price of milk was low, and the price of feed was high,” Carl said. “I told Jerry if we’re going to stay in this business, we’re going to have to subsidize this business. We couldn’t afford to do that.”

Jerry now runs beef cattle on the family farm and keeps a small group of dairy cows “as a hobby.”

Posted in News0 Comments

Tours offered for first time at fair

Every year school groups flock to the Wise County Youth Fair so students can see farm animals up-close. In the past, teachers were left to herd their students up and down the barn aisles alone, but this year, tour guides will greet the big, yellow buses.

4-H Program Assistant Andrea Calabretta organized the program and trained 4-H, FFA and FCCLA members to guide tours.

“They’ll talk about fun facts and the jobs these animals have after they leave the fair ground,” she said. “It’s a backstage pass to the fair grounds.”

Groups will see the animals in the barns, and they’ll also walk through the Women’s Building where the 4-H and FCCLA baking, craft and photography entries are displayed.

“It’s a great way for the youth to explain what they do,” she said. “They get to say this is why I do it, and it’s great for younger youth to get excited about it and want to be that kid who is showing that pig or that brought in that cake.”

Calabretta, who also owns her own agriculture education business, has organized tours for several fairs, and she brought that expertise to this project.

The tours are designed for daycare through fifth grade students, but Calabretta said any group is welcome to participate. Tour guides have been trained so that they know something about every animal and project on the grounds.

Tours are 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. every day, except Wednesday, and each tour lasts about 45 minutes.

Teachers can call the Extension Service office at (940) 627-3341 to sign up for a tour.

Posted in News0 Comments

2012 Wise County Youth Fair Queens Contestants Representing 4-H

Harley Dearing


Harley Dearing, 13, of Paradise is the daughter of Robin and Jori Dearing. She represents Bridgeport 4-H.

Dearing served as president of Bridgeport 4-H in 2010-2011 and is involved in the 4-H Horse Project.

She is also a member of Texas Off Road Nationals and Grace Fellowship Church in Paradise.

Dearing was awarded the Jordan Freeman Sportsmanship Award at the 2010 KJRA Circuit and won the Junior Reserve Highpoint at the 2011 Wise County Youth Fair Horse Show.

At Bridgeport Middle School, she made the A honor roll in both sixth and seventh grade. She also scored a 1, the highest score, at the 2012 UIL Band Competition for her percussion solo. Her favorite subject is science.

Her interests include rodeos, barrel racing, roping, bull riding, horses, dirt bikes, playing guitar and hanging out with friends. But her favorite hobby is riding her horse, Amigo, at home and in rodeos.

Amanda Peters


Amanda Peters, 18, of Boyd is the daughter of Robyn Peters. She represents Boyd 4-H.

Peters’ passion is dairy goats. She raises Nubian dairy goats and has a small show herd. She shows both locally and nationally.

She has won best in show and champion at the Houston Livestock Show, Fort Worth Stock Show, State Fair of Texas, Oklahoma State Fair and the Arkansas State Fair. Peters was also champion showman and best in show at the Texas State 4-H Show.

When she’s not showing her goats, she milks them twice a day and takes care of her small business. Peters produces cheese, milk, lotion and soap from her dairy.

Peters also teaches others about dairy goats, including children, and has led showmanship clinics.

She enjoys attending her 4-H Club meetings and making new friends at the shows.

Marisol Millan


Marisol Millan, 15, of Decatur is the daughter of Sandra Romo. She represents Slidell/Greenwood 4-H.

Millan participates in FCCLA and 4-H, where she is the public relations officer.

She has received honors for best actress in junior high One-Act Play, first in oral reading, second in persuasive speaking, third in informative speaking, first in the 300 and 100 hurdles at district and second in tennis. Her favorite subject is geography.

Millan is also involved in church. She completed a 91-hour mission trip, volunteered at a homeless shelter, Mother’s Day Out and Vacation Bible School.

Her hobbies including playing sports, hanging out with friends, listening to music, basketball, watching movies, talking, 4-H dances and doodling. Millan’s four favorite friends are Tyler, Caitlin, Morgan and her grandmother.

Guirnalda Lopez


Guirnalda Lopez, 16, of Decatur is the daughter of Carlos and Monica Lopez. She represents Decatur 4-H.

A sophomore at Decatur High School, Lopez is president of Decatur 4-H. She is also part of 4-H County Council.

At school, Lopez is a two-time regional qualifier for the swim team and is also a member of the cross country and track teams. Her favorite classes are agriculture, science, reading and drama. She has been commended in writing, math and English.

Her hobbies include spending time and re-enacting “Harry Potter” movies with her friend Lety Fernandez and basketball. She is also involved with her church youth group and assists with Sunday school lessons. She hopes to start a youth band at her church.

Lopez also volunteers in the community by recycling, picking up trash and visiting the elderly at local nursing homes.

Lopez plans to attend Texas A&M University in Galveston to study marine biology.

Alex Martinets


Alex Martinets, 16, of Bridgeport is the daughter of Tim and Laura Martinets. She represents the 4-H Clothing and Textiles Club.

A junior home school student, Martinets is president of the 4-H Clothing and Textiles Club. She has also served as vice president of the club and of Bridgeport 4-H. Though sewing and design is her main project focus, she has also participated in photography, food, dogs and dairy and Boer goats.

Outside of 4-H, she participates in drama, art and music. She is currently acting in the JOY Christian Academy musical, “Godspell,” and has acted in “Little Women,” “Fiddler on the Roof” and “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.” She plays the harp and piano.

Martinets has taken summer art lessons for eight years. She has won ribbons for her art in the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo art competition, as well as ribbons at the Wise County Youth Fair.

Her art has led to an interest in fashion design and sewing and she has created many items in her seven years in the sewing project.

Martinets said being involved in 4-H has not only taught her to sew, care for animals and be a leader, but it has also shown her how she can serve the community.

Katie Claborn


Katie Claborn, 14, of Decatur is the daughter of Frankie and Sheri Claborn. She represents Alvord 4-H.

A freshman, Claborn participates in Alvord 4-H and Alvord FFA.

At school, she is class treasurer and received the Principal’s Award in eighth grade. She also received best actress for the UIL One-Act Play in eighth grade. Her favorite subject is English.

She also enjoys cheerleading and basketball. She was a junior high cheerleader for two years and a junior varsity cheerleader this year. She received All-American Cheerleader the last three years. Claborn also plays tournament basketball in the summer.

Bailey Ray Morris


Bailey Ray Morris, 17, of Chico is the daughter of Pat and Janet Morris. She represents Chico 4-H.

A junior at Chico High School, Morris has been involved in 4-H for nine years. She served as 4-H president and secretary, county council representative, president and vice president; and ran for district office.

In 4-H, she is involved in cattle, dairy goats, citizenship, clothing and textiles, foods and nutrition, technology, leadership and community service projects. She has competed on a state-winning food challenge team, Leaders 4 Life, Share the Fun and many state goat judgings.

She won the 4-H Gold Star Award and the 4-H Farm Bureau Leadership Award.

Her school activities include being reporter of Student Council; president of GRRIPP, the school’s Christian organization; One-Act Play; UIL and yearbook. She is also on the A honor roll.

Morris has led community service projects, including collecting items for soldiers and Pennies for Patience. Her favorite subjects are English, yearbook and theater arts.

Morris has volunteered at Sonflower Camp since its inception and is involved in her church’s youth group.

Her interests include listening to music, reading and hanging out with her friends Mikah and Charlotte.

Olivia Bettesworth


Olivia Bettesworth, 16, of Paradise is the daughter of Eric and Tomi Sue Bettesworth. She represents Paradise 4-H.

In 4-H, Bettesworth has served as club treasurer, secretary and two consecutive years as president. She is also an FFA member.

Her hobbies include showing animals, livestock judging and shopping. She also plays volleyball, runs track and plays golf, which she lettered in her freshman year.

Bettesworth received the Academic Athlete award last year and was the Silver Star recipient in 2009.

She is also involved in her church’s youth group and Relay for Life.

Her future goals include becoming an anesthesiologist.

Posted in News0 Comments

2012 Wise County Youth Fair Queens Contestants Representing FCCLA

Ariel Rogers


Ariel Rogers, 16, of Sunset is the daughter of Pamela and Doc Rogers. She represents Alvord FCCLA.

Rogers is junior class vice president, Spanish Club officer, and a member of FCCLA, National Honor Society and Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Her honors include all-district and Wise County newcomer of the year for softball; regional and state qualifier for cross country (fourth in state); first team all-district basketball and softball; regional quarterfinalist for basketball and track; and all-district academic team for basketball and softball.

Rogers’ hobbies are playing sports, spending time with friends and attending church at First Baptist Church in Alvord. She is also involved in the First Alvord Student Ministry Youth Group at her church.

Her interests include emergency medical technician and aeronautics. Her favorite subjects are math and science.

She plans to pursue medical science in college, and her favorite friend is Kala Ann Cash.

Hannah Tackett


Hannah Tackett, 17, of Paradise is the daughter of Chris Tackett and the niece of Darrin and Gina Tackett. She represents Paradise FCCLA.

Tackett is vice president of FCCLA and is also involved in Beta Club, Spanish Club, Relay for Life and varsity basketball.

Her hobbies include shopping, hanging out with friends, hunting, riding four-wheelers, jet skiing and playing basketball.

She plans to attend the University of North Texas with her best friend, Taelor Burns, and become a pediatric nurse.

Posted in News0 Comments

2012 Wise County Youth Fair Queens Contestants Representing FFA

Madison Manoushagian


Madison Manoushagian, 17, of Bridgeport is the daughter of Bucky and Dana Manoushagian. She represents Bridgeport FFA.

Manoushagian has served as president of her FFA chapter as well as treasurer for FFA District I. She has also been parliamentarian for executive student council and junior class vice president.

Other clubs she participates in include art club, Spanish club and National Technical Honor Society. She also volunteers in the nursery at Grace Fellowship Church.

At school, she has received Spanish and math awards and has made the A honor roll. Her favorite subject is AP American History.

Manoushagian’s hobbies include reading, shopping, showing animals and watching basketball, especially the Dallas Mavericks. Her favorite friend is Bin Na Kim.

Her interests are history, reality TV, music and fashion.

Shelbi Garcia


Shelbi Garcia, 17, of Chico is the daughter of Shelly Dorsey and Joe Garcia. She represents Chico FFA.

Garcia is a member of Spanish Club, FFA, Junior Beefmaster Breeders United, Lady Dragon athletics, GRRIPP, Student Council, Santa Gertrudis Breeders International and One Act Play.

Her honors include regional qualifier in competitive swimming, student of the month three times, and second place Beefmaster at the Fort Worth Stock Show.

Garcia’s interests include showing heifers, acting, volleyball, basketball, riding horses, wakeboarding, swimming and spending time with family.

Her favorite friends are the girls she shows with.

Sarah Smith


Sarah Smith, 18, of Boyd is the daughter of Jimmy and Julia Smith. She represents Boyd FFA.

Smith has served as FFA president and secretary. She is also a member of Rachel’s Challenge, National Honor Society, the Friends of Rachel Club and First Baptist Church of Boyd.

Her honors include Star Green Hand of Boyd FFA, Star Chapter Degree of Boyd FFA, Lone Star Degree, Star Lone Star of Boyd FFA, first in area in floriculture contest, fifth in state in floriculture and homecoming queen.

Her favorite sport is volleyball and her favorite subject is math.

Smith’s hobbies are showing lambs, being active in school, achieving academic success and spending time with family and friends. Her favorite friends include Madelaine Pack, Cassandra Leija, Megan Benjamin, Chelsea Graham and Ashley Montgomery.

She has volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, Spirit of Christmas and canned food drives.

Robyn Musgrave


Robyn Musgrave, 17, of Decatur is the daughter of David and Yolinde Musgrave. She represents Alvord FFA.

Musgrave has been reporter and sentinel for FFA, FCCLA treasurer, Student Council historian, junior class treasurer, Spanish club officer, and parliamentarian for her freshman and sophomore classes.

She also participates in the gifted and talented program, athletics, and dual-credit and Advanced Placement classes.

Musgrave’s honors include cross country team captain, state qualifying cross country team, Alvord Lady Bulldog top athlete award, FFA Greenhand Degree and FFA Chapter Farmer Degree.

Her hobbies include school activities, spending time with friends and attending church at First United Methodist Church of Alvord.

Brooke Millican


Brooke Millican, 18, of Decatur is the daughter of Robin Stout and Terry Millican. She represents Decatur FFA.

Millican has served as vice president, secretary and reporter for FFA and is the Area V FFA vice president this year. She has also served as national director and national queen for the National Junior Santa Gertrudis Association and vice president, historian/reporter and queen for the Premier Junior Santa Gertrudis Association.

Millican has also been president, secretary and treasurer of Student Council and secretary of Beta Club.

Her honors include Ford Leadership Scholar, Student of the Month for September, Lonestar FFA Degree, Presidential Service Award and Outstanding Junior.

Her hobbies and interests include shopping, traveling, showing Santa Gertrudis cattle, community service and college.

Millican’s favorite subjects are anything agriculture-related and government.

Her many community service projects include Project Bloom, where she organized the building of a park for special needs childen, projects at nursing homes and volunteering at Wise Area Relief Mission, the battered women’s shelter, Salvation Army, Red Cross, Decatur Main Street program events, Off 380 Players, Sonflower Camp, FFA events, pee-wee cheerleading, Habitat for Humanity and Ronald McDonald House Charities.

Caira Heinze


Caira Heinze, 17, of Krum is the daughter of Julie Heinze. She represents Slidell FFA.

In FFA, Heinze has served as parliamentarian, secretary, president and district president. She has also served as student council president, Beta Club president and senior class president. She also serves on the prom committee and plays varsity golf.

Her honors include state qualifier National Texas History Day Performance, state qualifier Horse Judging Team, state qualifier Dairy Judging Team, state qualifier in persuasive extemporaneous speaking at UIL, regional champion persuasive extemporaneous speaking, best actress at regionals and state alternate One-Act Play.

Heinze’s hobbies include reading, scrapbooking, baking, writing, camping, running, golf, hiking, collecting smashed pennies and star-gazing. Her interests are politics, traveling, theater, literature, foreign customs and languages, art, agriculture, genealogy, handwritten letters, music, antique and vintage things and religion.

At Greenwood First Baptist she is involved in the interactive church play “This is Your Life/Death.” At Slidell First Baptist she is a youth group member, Vacation Bible School leader, children’s church helper and volunteer server at Golden Greyhound Luncheon.

After graduating as salutatorian, Heinze plans to attend Texas Woman’s University in Denton and study government, sociology and Spanish. She hopes to attend the honor’s college.

Rachel Remmele


Rachel Remmele, 17, of Paradise is the daughter of Ben and Anita Remmele. She represents Paradise FFA.

A senior and salutatorian at Paradise High School, Remmele is sentinel for FFA and also a member of 4-H.

She is active showing Texas Longhorn cattle and is part of the Texas Longhorn Breeders Association of America. She is also a member of Texas Longhorn Breeders of Tomorrow and the Wise County Youth Project, which donates calves to children in order to help grow the Longhorn community.

Remmele is her class’ chaplain and volunteers through Beta Club.

She is also a member of First Baptist Church of Cottondale and participates in youth group.

Her hobbies include photography, shooting, hunting, riding horses and spending time with friends.

Posted in News0 Comments

Show of support: Fellow students assist classmate inside the arena

Show of support: Fellow students assist classmate inside the arena

With a tight grasp on the collar around his goat’s neck, Bucky Sledge of Sunset leads Scout toward the show arena with Alvord High School senior Dalton King close behind, ready to assist.

HELPING HANDS - For five years, Dalton King, 17, of Alvord, right, has helped Bucky Sledge, 19 of Sunset, in the show arena at the Wise County Youth Fair. Having autism, Sledge is permitted to have an aide help him if he cannot maintain control of his goats. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

As a show tradition, just before entering the arena, they slap a high five, and King follows with a pat on Sledge’s back.

After entering, King helps Sledge guide his project through the judging process. If Sledge demonstrates any difficulty, King steps in to help him.

To help ease his nerves, King nudges Sledge and says, with a smirk, “We’re gonna beat them.”

But winning is irrelevant to them.

Being autistic, Sledge, an Alvord High School junior, is allowed an aide to assist in presenting his projects.

Since he began showing at the Wise County Youth Fair five years ago, King, 17, has been his aide.

“We were at a local project show in Alvord a few years ago, and I asked if I could help him out,” King said. “I’ve been helping ever since. I really get a kick out of showing with Bucky.”

King shows a beef heifer at the Youth Fair. His experience and enjoyment of showing facilitate his assistance.

“I like (showing) anyway,” he said. “I’m glad I can help him by doing something I enjoy.”

Although Sledge attempts to do the work, King stands by to help brace the animal if it gets out of control, and his presence is a comfort to Sledge.

“It’s good for Bucky to have Dalton around,” Sledge’s mother, Lisa, said. “He’s a great kid, and it means a lot. Bucky doesn’t have the strength to always handle the animal, so it’s good that he has help from kids like Dalton.”

When King is not around, other students, such as middle school student Cheyanne Dollins, step in to assist Bucky.

“The kids are so good about helping him,” Lisa said. “They sometimes fight about who gets to help him. But Dalton is a senior, and he’s helped the longest. We have good FFA kids.”

When Bucky’s parents, Jack and Lisa, moved to Sunset from North Carolina in 2004, they decided to make use of their 100 acres and buy goats for their son.

“We thought it would be good for him to be around animals,” his mother said. “Having lived in the city before, he’d never been around animals. We think it’s important that he not be afraid of them. In the beginning, he would barely touch the goats. Now he gets in the pens and plays with them and really interacts with them. We’ve made a lot of progress.

“It also teaches him responsibility – that’s important. He has to help feed them, clean them, clean their pens. It teaches him life skills.”

Bucky concurs.

“They are fun,” he said. “When I put the goats in the pen, they go crazy. They are hard work.”

This year, his hard work paid off with a sixth-place and eighth-place finish in his class of dairy wethers and boer wethers, respectively.

With the help of his mother, Bucky also entered a pecan pie in the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America Food and Crafts contest and placed first in his class.

“He was so excited to win that first-place ribbon,” Lisa said. “But we’re just proud that he gets out there. And we’re grateful for the kids that help him.

“All the kids are really good to Bucky,” she continued. “They’re willing to help him in any way they can. They bend over backward for him. It’s great.”

SUPPORT SYSTEM - Bucky Sledge and Dalton King hold the collar of Sledge's dairy wether, Scout, during the native contest. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Posted in Features, News4 Comments

Better than fair beginning

WELCOME TO WISE - Todd Vineyard, Wise County's new ag agent for the Texas AgriLife Extension Service, started on Monday, which was also the first day of the Youth Fair. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Wise County’s new ag agent for the Texas AgriLife Extension Service, Todd Vineyard, jumped in with both boots.

His first day on the job was Monday – also the first day of the Wise County Youth Fair.

Vineyard, who’s been an agent since 1991, has helped with his share of livestock shows but admitted it was a little daunting to start the week of the county fair.

“It’s a bit overwhelming but a great opportunity to get thrown in and meet a lot of people,” he said. “It will jumpstart my ability to help families that need help.”

Vineyard replaces Gary Clayton, who retired in August 2010 and was the agent for 18 years.

Vineyard was most recently the ag agent in Erath County, based in Stephenville. He started there in 2007 and had no intention of leaving until recently.

It was home.

His wife, Marla, is from Stephenville, and Vineyard said the move back in 2007 reunited them with much of her family who still lived there.

“Yeah, we thought that would be the place we would retire ” he said.

He and Marla have three children: Chase, a junior in high school; Chelsi, a freshman; and Creed, a kindergartner. Moving to Wise County took careful consideration, and Vineyard said it was not a decision they made lightly.

In fact, they contemplated the move about three months before he accepted the position, and Marla and the kids will remain in Stephenville for a while so their kids can finish school.

With his own retirement on the horizon, Clayton had been trying to convince Vineyard for several years to consider Wise County. Vineyard said he probably wouldn’t have thought about it otherwise.

The two know each other from working together in Extension, and Vineyard worked in Clayton’s hometown of Anson for several years, becoming acquainted with Clayton’s mother.

“I guess that may have helped us to become a little closer,” said Vineyard.

Besides the position in Jones County, based in Anson, he has been an agent in Stephens County, based in Breckenridge, and Wilbarger County, based in Vernon.

Vineyard first accepted an Extension job on a whim. Right out of college, he hired on while continuing to look for work in the business field. He had always been involved in agriculture and said he always liked the Extension agents that he had worked with in his youth.

It’s turned out to be a job he really enjoys.

“I like the people,” he said. “I like interacting with people.

“And the beauty of Extension is it’s something different every day. When you go into the office, you don’t know exactly what you’re going to do that day. There’s a wide variety of opportunities.”

While Vineyard is well-versed in many areas, he said his specialty is livestock evaluation and beef cattle production. He enjoys helping with youth project management, too.

Vineyard said Clayton has done a great job in Wise County, and he looks forward to digging in, meeting people and putting his philosophies to work.

“I’ve only been here two-and-a-half days,” he said Wednesday, “and people here are amazing. Very welcoming.”

Posted in News0 Comments

Always in show: Wilson balances showing animals, pitching

Always in show: Wilson balances showing animals, pitching

FOCUSED ON JOBS AT HAND - Paradise pitcher Laura Wilson is determined to give her best for her softball team and in the show arena with her animals. She'll be busy with both next week. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

In the pitcher’s circle, the Paradise Lady Panthers’ Laura Wilson is calm, cool and shows no signs of nervousness.

But next week will be the event that really gets her on edge – another stock show. Wilson will show five animals – a pig, two goats and two lambs during the Wise County Youth Fair.

”I get more nervous showing animals than (playing) softball,” she said. “(County) is going to be tough. There’s a lot of competition.”

Around showing, she’ll be pitching games against Jacksboro and Boyd. She acknowledges that it will present a tough balancing act.

“It’ll be busy with two games, shows and after that buying animals again,” Wilson said. “I really want us to go to the playoffs. I’ll be putting all my effort into softball and into showing, too.”

But she is used to a busy schedule and the demands of softball and raising animals. She’s been raising and showing goats for six years and lambs for three. This is her first year to show a pig.

“They are hard to control,” Wilson said.

WORKING AROUND THE CAGES - Paradise pitcher Laura Wilson balances her duties on the diamond with showing her animals. She will pitch twice next week while showing in the Wise County Youth Fair. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

She gives her family credit with helping her with the animals around her busy practice and playing schedule on the diamond.

It’s already been a busy and successful year showing for Wilson, who made the cut at all the big shows, including Houston, with her lambs and goats. At Houston, she finished two spots out of making the sale with her lamb.

In the pitching circle, Wilson has held her own. She entered the Lady Panthers’ game against Tolar Friday with a 3.12 ERA. In district play, she has 43 strikeouts and just four walks in 24 innings of work.

“She’s a good pitcher,” said Paradise coach Karin Essig. “She started the season averaging 13 strikeouts per game, and she averages less than a walk per game. The most that she’s had in a game is three.

“With her, we have a good chance to win every game we go into.”

Wilson has been playing select softball since she was 7 and plays throughout the year, despite a myriad of foot injuries that prevent her from playing other sports. She has to wear orthotics to keep playing.

With her slender frame, Wilson is not an intimidating figure in the pitching circle. She said she’s able to use those deceiving looks to her advantage.

“When I’m warming up, the other team thinks I’m a slow pitcher because I’m not very big,” Wilson said. “But I’m throwing a lot faster than they think.”

Wilson’s been on the short end of some hard-luck losses lately for the Lady Panthers. Paradise lost a one-run game to Millsap Tuesday.

“We’ve just got to keep it together,” Wilson said.

She hopes for more strong showings in the sale barn – and on the diamond.

Posted in Features, Sports0 Comments

Club offers financial support of youth projects

2010 Champions and Blue Ribbon Club Members

By the time the final gavel falls for the 2011 Wise County Youth Fair auction, the Champions and Blue Ribbon Club will easily surpass the $500,000 mark in bids for youth projects.

The club was begun in 2006 when a group of businesses, led by longtime youth fair supporter James Wood, got together to improve the bidding for the top projects at the week-long fair.

It debuted at the 2007 show and spent $73,950 bidding on champion and reserve champion show animals, baking projects and agricultural mechanics.

In addition, $32,400 was donated to the various school buyers groups, based on $300 per participant.

The buyers groups have served for many years as the backbone for the youth fair auction. Each raises its own money through fundraisers and donations, to help ensure students from their respective schools could get a fair return on their hard work.

The formation of the club helped the buyers associations focus on projects below the champion and reserve champion level, since those projects typically attract much higher bids.

Membership levels are set at $5,000 for champions and $2,500 for blue ribbon.

The club typically raises more than $110,000 per year. Club members can usually be identified during the auction by their logo caps, shirts and jackets.

After the first year, the amount donated to the buyers groups was raised to $400 per participant, for a total of $43,200.

Total spending for the champion and reserve champions has averaged close to $70,000 per year.

In addition, the club donates $2,000 a year to the heifer show.

One benefit of the club has been for the top projects to receive prices substantially higher than similar shows in neighboring counties.

“It guarantees all the grand and reserve champion winners will receive top dollar,” said club President Roy Young.

But the club’s intention is not to keep others from bidding on the champions, but to ensure a good price for each. Once a predetermined minimum has been reached, the project will go to the highest bidder.

This year there are eight champion and about 32 blue-ribbon club members.

The participation from donors has been very good from the first year, Young said. He encouraged citizens to consider these contributing businesses before shopping out of town for goods or services.

Many of the members will have their photos made with the winners during the auction Saturday, April 2. The club purchases an ad in county newspapers recognizing all the winning projects following the fair.

Those wishing to join may mail their donations to the club at P.O. Box 198, Decatur, TX 76234.

The officers include President Roy Young, Vice President Tim Raley, Secretary Cyd Bailey, Treasurer Steve McMaster and Directors James Wood, Marvin Porter, Robert Mann, Brad Read and Phil Major.

Posted in News0 Comments

Goats provide rewarding project

BREEDING CHAMPIONS - Amanda Peters of Boyd sits among a rainbow of banners and rosettes hanging from the walls of her home. She has shown her Nubian dairy goats across the state and won a variety of awards, including countless grand and reserve champions, best in shows and showmanship awards. She recently competed in goat judging for the first time and won second in state. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Sunlight streams through the floral cafe curtains, illuminating a rainbow of rosettes and banners at the Peters’ home.

The walls surrounding their wooden kitchen table are draped in awards – the haul of champions 17-year-old Amanda and her Nubian dairy goats.

The Boyd 4-H’er only began showing goats five years ago, but in that short time, she’s fostered an award-winning herd and educated others about the small animals with big personalities.

“Each goat has a different personality,” Amanda said. “Goats aren’t as mean as (people) think. And they’re actually really clean.”

Although she’s getting ready for the Wise County Youth Fair next week, she showed most recently at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, where she won grand and reserve champion Nubian senior doe, best in show and champion senior showmanship.

She also won second-place Good Herdsman.

Her mom, Robyn, said Amanda took 15 goats to the major stock show, and her careful attention and hard work in caring for the animals helped earn her the Good Herdsman recognition.

“All of the judges stopped her and told her how pretty her goats were,” Robyn said. “The volunteers all know her, and some of them said they schedule their work time so they can be there when Amanda is showing.”

Although she’s known for winning, that’s not what drives Amanda.

“She goes out there to have fun,” Robyn said. “We look at it as a blessing if it happens. She enjoys it, but she doesn’t have to win. She’s very laid back.”

A blooming business

Amanda and her family moved to Wise County from Irving six years ago. The teen joined 4-H while living in the Metroplex when she was 9, but that club didn’t encourage showing livestock. She participated in various activities, including 4-H camps, but didn’t find her niche until she entered the goat business.

“I was just walking around the Fort Worth Stock Show and fell in love with the goats,” Amanda said.

Robyn said she and her husband, James, would take their daughter to petting zoos with all types of animals.

“I’d say, ‘let’s go feed the zebras,'” said Robyn, “and she’d be feeding the goats. It was kind of cute.”

She began asking her parents for goats and, like most kids, was relentless in her requests. But her parents wanted to make sure she was serious about the endeavor.

“We’re pretty practical, and we told her she had to write a report and tell us why she wanted goats,” Robyn said.

James and Robyn were impressed by the research and thought Amanda put into the paper, and they agreed to buy a goat – Trixie.

Trixie was followed by Love Song and her five newborn kids – Butterfly, Red, Jaguar, Amanda Superstar, Dancer and Moon Dancer – the beginnings of a herd.

Amanda’s first show was the Texas/Oklahoma Fair in 2006, and she won grand champion.

“I didn’t know I won,” Amanda said. “I tried to leave the ring. I was shocked.”

Since then her herd has grown to include 30 milking goats, and Amanda knows each by name. She can recall their unique characteristics and personality traits.

“I can step out back and yell, ‘Milkers!'” Amanda said, “and they come running. That’s what I call them, the Milkers and the Babies.”

Amanda stepped out her back door last week, and all the goats craned their necks, looking for their friend and caretaker.

But Wilhemina bleated the loudest, demanding attention as Amanda walked to the barn.

Every day she gets up between 5 and 6 a.m. to begin her milking regimen, and it takes two hours to milk the goats and feed the babies. She follows the same routine in the evening.

Her mom helps some, but this is primarily Amanda’s job.

Each goat produces one to one-and-a-half gallons of milk per day, and one of her goals is to have her own small dairy from which she can sell milk and cheese.

To help her meet that goal, her grandfather Billy West and her dad are building her a new milking barn that will enable them to be a grade A raw dairy, and Amanda is working on perfecting her feta and chev cheese.

Robyn said Amanda has learned a lot from raising goats, especially patience.

“She was borderline ADD (attention deficit disorder),” said her mom, “but she has learned patience. And she’s just matured into this wonderful adult.

“I’m just so proud of her,” she said. “She’s such a hard worker.”

Giving back

PLAYFUL KIDS - Amanda Peters of Boyd giggles as one of the kids nibbles at her ear. Peters milks 30 goats twice a day, and she knows the quirks and mannerisms of each animal. Often, when she walks out the back door, the goats bleat a greeting if they're near the house. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Everywhere Amanda shows, she makes a point to educate the public by allowing children to pet the goats and even bottle-feed babies. Robyn said this is one of their favorite things about the Youth Fair – the opportunity to visit with children and adults, alike.

Two years ago, she introduced her neighbor Maddie Doka to goats.

“One day she was riding her bike and asked if she could see the goats, and we’ve pretty much been best friends since,” Amanda said.

Twelve-year-old Maddie has also started showing with Amanda, and she and Robyn take her with them as often as they can.

When she has any free time, Amanda volunteers for the Boyd Buyers’ Association, working in concession stands to help raise money.

While the shower of ribbons and awards is nice, Robyn never anticipated Amanda’s success in the show ring.

It just started out as a little girl’s wish. A wish to have goats.

“Sure, you feel a little overwhelmed sometimes … like the barn … we just built it as we could,” said Robyn. “But God has really provided for us. He has blessed us, and Amanda is just a gift anyway.”

The youth fair breeding dairy goat show begins at 8 a.m. Tuesday, March 29. To learn more about Amanda’s goats, visit her website at

Posted in News0 Comments

2011 Wise County Youth Fair Queens Contestants Representing 4-H

Kara Demmitt

Demmitt KaraKara Demmitt, 15, of Bridgeport is the daughter of Gary and Cheila Demmitt. She represents Chico 4-H.

Demmitt serves as president of Chico 4-H and has served as vice president, second vice president and recreation chair.

She is also involved in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and FFA.

In 4-H, she has been named an outstanding senior member, outstanding community member, outstanding junior member, showmanship winner several times and third-place individual in the state goat-judging competition.

At Bridgeport High School, she has been named to the A/B honor roll and a student of the month, and received the Spanish and attendance awards.

Her favorite friends are her cousin, Haylee, and sister Shannon.

Her favorite subjects are Pre-AP physics and agriculture.

She enjoys playing tennis, basketball and volleyball, hanging out with friends, watching the Texas Rangers play, shopping, movies and showing goats.

At Pleasant View Baptist Church, she is involved in the youth group, as a youth council member and in the youth chorus, and helps with vacation Bible school, Kids Crossing and World Changers mission team.

Chelsea Holder

Holder ChelseaChelsea Holder, 18, of Paradise is the daughter of Lonnie Holder. She represents Paradise 4-H.

Holder is also involved in Relay for Life and is vice president of student council, is a class officer (reporter), vice president of the FFA chapter all years of high school, FFA district chaplain and FFA Area V vice president.

She was named to the academic all-district powerlifting team and is a regional qualifier in powerlifting, state qualifier in FFA livestock judging three years in a row and was a state semi-finalist in FFA radio in 2010.

Her interests are livestock judging, making people laugh, showing animals and animal nutrition.

Stacey Park and Hunter Heathington are her favorite friends. Her favorite sport is football, and her favorite subject is history.

She plans to earn an associate’s degree at South Plains College in Levelland, where she will be a member of the livestock judging team, before transferring to Texas Tech University to continue livestock judging and earn a master’s degree in animal nutrition.

Kendall Vawter

Vawter KendallKendall Vawter, 16, of Paradise, is the daughter of Troy and Janie Vawter. She represents Bridgeport 4-H, and has served as the club’s president, vice president and secretary.

She also served as second vice president of the 4-H county council, and is a member of FFA.

She has been named to the A/B honor roll and has received the Green Hand award and overall high point at the state dog show.

Vawter enjoys riding her horse, playing softball, showing her 4-H project, traveling to see friends and family, and spending time with her Nanny and Papi.

Her favorite sport is softball and her favorite subject chemistry.

For her favorite friend Vawter mentions the many friendships she’s made through sports and 4-H.

Her future interests include going into the medical field.

Jennifer Endsley

Endsley JenniferJennifer Endsley, 18, of Alvord is the daughter of Carrie and Mike Endsley. She represents Alvord 4-H.

Endsley is the student council reporter/secretary, Family, Career and Community Leaders of America committee member and 4-H president.

She is also involved in Spanish club, Science club, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, National Honor Society and the Alvord United Methodist youth group.

Endsley has qualified for regionals in track since her freshman year and went to state her sophomore year. She was also a state qualifier in 4-H consumer buying specialty division and has received the 4.0 Award.

She enjoys anything physically active, running track, shooting skeet and going to sporting events with friends.

Her favorite friend is Emily Smith, her favorite sport basketball and favorite subject math.

She plans to attend Abilene Christian University in the fall to study education or kinesiology.

Guirnalda Lopez

Lopez GuirnaldaGuirnalda L0pez, 15, of Decatur is the daughter of Carlos and Monica L0pez. She represents Decatur 4-H.

In addition to serving as the Decatur 4-H vice president for a second year, L pez is involved in basketball, swimming, cross country, track, the Livestock Task Force, Teen Advisory Board for the Decatur Public Library, French club, theater arts and her church’s youth group.

She qualified for the regional swim meet and has been named to the A/B honor roll.

Her interests include marine biology and volunteering, especially for animals or children.

Her favorite friend is Marissa Martinez, her favorite sport basketball and her favorite subject biology.

Jodie Renae Wells

Renae JodieJodie Renae Wells, 16, of Decatur is the daughter of Nelson and Cindy Wells. She represents Slidell/Greenwood 4-H.

In addition to serving as her chapter’s secretary, she participates in 4-H foods, clothing, consumer decision-making, arts and crafts, beef and swine. She also enters some of her photographs in the Wise County Youth Fair contest.

Wells received state and national member honors from the National Guild of Piano Teachers and has an illustration in “The Pets Who Built the Garden,” a book published by the Decatur Public Library.

She represented Wise County in consumer decision-making at the 4-H State Roundup and will participate in the food show and food challenge competitions at this year’s Roundup.

At the Wise County Youth Fair, she has won reserve champion food, grand champion crafts and received a sale position with a third-place pig.

She is involved with her church youth group and theater, leading music for vacation Bible school and mission trip vacation Bible school the past two years. She also plays the piano with the praise band.

Wells enjoys playing the piano, swimming, history, reading, photography, scrapbooking, working and playing with animals and hanging out with friends.

She has been a summer volunteer at the Wise County Veterinary Clinic for three summers, and has been an active member of 4-H since moving back to Wise County in 2007.

Her favorite friend is her sister, Anne Marie.

Catherine Gallant

Gallant CatherineCatherine Gallant, 17, of Decatur is the daughter of Sue and Jim Gallant. She represents Boyd 4-H.

Gallant participates in the dog and horse projects.

She has received the William Danforth “I Dare You” award, co-op Watch leadership award, several champion and first-place awards at horse shows and first-place awards in the state 4-H Horse Bowl speech competition.

Gallant enjoys reading, teaching young children, spending time with family and friends, riding horses, training her dog, playing the harp and piano, and taking nature hikes with her family.

She has participated in a youth orchestra and regularly takes part in the handbell choir at her church.

Although her favorite sport is horseback riding, she also enjoys playing baseball.

Her favorite subject is history.

“It is fascinating to learn about the founders of our great country and to learn about the lifestyles of early Americans,” she said.

Alex Martinets

Martinets AlexAlex Martinets, 16, of Bridgeport is the daughter of Tim and Laura Martinets. She represents the Clothing and Textiles 4-H Club.

Martinets is the second vice president of the Bridgeport 4-H Club and the Clothing and Textiles Club.

She earned third-, sixth- and seventh-place finishes in the Fort Worth Stock Show Art Show.

Martinets enjoys horseback riding, reading books, drawing, the arts, playing the harp and piano, fashion, writing, acting, holding several roles in productions, and is interested in costumes and makeup in movies.

Her favorite subject is history, and she sings in her church choir.

As her favorite friend, she named her family because they “are very close to each other.”

Posted in News0 Comments

2011 Wise County Youth Fair Queens Contestants Representing FCCLA

Chanel Brewer

Brewer ChanelChanel Brewer, 18, of Slidell is the daughter of Donna VanCamp and John Wray. She represents Slidell Family, Career and Community Leaders of America, for which she has served as president for two years.

Brewer also served as FCCLA vice president her sophomore year and as student council president her freshman year.

She is involved in Beta Club, National Honor Society and Children in Action at her church, and helped develop Career Day at Slidell High School.

Brewer was recognized by Who’s Who Among American Students her sophomore year and won the Discus Award her senior year.

Her favorite friend is Jessica Elise McClure; her favorite sport, basketball; and her favorite subject is human sciences.

She is interested in all sports, especially basketball, and enjoys spending time with family and friends.

Brewer hopes to continue into college for sports medicine.

Eleanor Randall

Randall EleanorEleanor Randall, 18, of Alvord is the daughter of Tim and Tracy Randall. She represents Alvord Family, Career and Community Leaders of America.

The Alvord High School senior is also involved as a class officer (parliamentarian) and vice president of student council and in Spanish club, National Honor Society and the First United Methodist Church of Alvord.

Randall was named her sophomore class favorite and prom princess.

She enjoys hanging out with friends and family, reading, watching movies, being outside, texting, shopping, cooking, photography and traveling.

Her favorite subject is English, and her favorite sport to watch is basketball.

“I have played this sport before and enjoy supporting the Bulldogs and Lady Bulldogs,” she said.

Unable to name a favorite friend, Randall mentions several people.

“It is very difficult for me to choose a favorite friend because I have a lot of good friends,” she said. “My sisters Claire and Mary, my friends Ashley and Alex and my boyfriend Matthew are all very special people that I hold close to my heart.”

Charlotte McGuire

McGuire CharlotteCharlotte McGuire, 15, of Chico is the daughter of Skip and Tamara McGuire. She represents Chico Family, Career and Community Leaders of America, for which she serves as vice president.

“Being in the queen’s contest is an honor to me,” she said.

McGuire is also involved as vice president of her sophomore class, as section editor and photographer for the Chico Dragon yearbook and in Spanish club, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, choir and the Victory Family Church youth group. She went on a mission trip to Hugo, Okla., to remodel a home for a needy family.

“It was the most life-changing experience ever,” she said.

Her favorite sport is volleyball.

“I love feeling strong and powerful,” McGuire said. “After every good thing the team does, I enjoy being able to celebrate with everyone.”

Her favorite subject is chemistry because of the combination of math and science.

McGuire names her dad as her favorite friend.

“He’s always been there for me through thick and thin to love me unconditionally and give me advice,” she said.

She enjoys riding horses and four-wheelers, working out, helping people, learning the details of practically anything including technology, anatomy and cooking.

Her lifelong dream is to help as many people as she can as an anesthesiologist and a foster parent.

“I hope to make a good impact on people’s lives,” she said.

Tory Wilmoth

Wilmoth ToryTory Wilmoth, 18, of Paradise is the daughter of Linda and Bud Wilmoth. She represents Paradise Family, Career and Community Leaders of America, for which she serves as treasurer.

Wilmoth served as secretary last year.

She enjoys spending time with family and friends, fashion and entertainment.

Her favorite sport is tennis; favorite subject is government/economics; and her favorite friends are Mariah Munn, Christian Brown, Sierra Brown and Jacey Helton.

Posted in News0 Comments




Recover password | Create an Account