Youth Fair events start Saturday

The 2015 Wise County Youth Fair kicks off Saturday in downtown Decatur and runs through March 7 at the Wise County Fairgrounds.

The 63rd annual event will start with a parade at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 28, to raise awareness of the fair and encourage families to visit the show. Organizer James Hubbard said Tuesday the threat of inclement weather could cancel the parade, but that decision had not yet been made as of press time Tuesday.

Watching the Show

WATCHING THE SHOW – Youngsters line the edge of the arena at the Wise County Youth Fair horse show. The 63rd annual event will feature livestock shows, as well as craft, baking, photography, horticulture and ag mechanics contests. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Lineup starts at 9 a.m. on Business 81/287 at Sandford Oil in Decatur. The parade starts at 10 a.m., and it will travel west on Walnut Street, south on Lane Street and east on Main Street to return to the start.

This will be the first Youth Fair parade held in several decades. Other events new to the fair in 2015 include a livestock judging contest at 9 a.m. Saturday, March 7, and the Heart of a Champion Show for special needs youth and adults 5 p.m. Friday, March 6.

The traditional lineup of fair events includes the Youth Fair Queens Contest, featuring 4-H, FFA and FCCLA contestants from across the county, at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 28, at the Women’s Building on the fairgrounds. (See this week’s All Around Wise for profiles of each contestant.)

The horse show is 8:30 a.m. Monday and continues Tuesday at the NRS Arena south of Decatur. Shows at the fairgrounds start Tuesday at 8 a.m. with the broilers, followed by breeding poultry; breeding dairy goats at 10 a.m.; the Longhorn show at 2 p.m. and breeding swine at 4 p.m.

The 4-H Parade of Fashion is 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Market lambs show at 8 a.m. Wednesday, followed by the dog show at 10 a.m.

On Thursday, the market swine show starts at 7:30 a.m., and meat pen rabbits, followed by breeding rabbits are at 8 a.m. The market goat show is 2 p.m., and the Women’s Building will open at 5 p.m. to view 4-H, FCCLA and horticulture exhibits.

On Friday, the prospect steer show is at 8 a.m., followed by the market steer show and naming of the grand champion steer. The breeding beef heifer show starts at 1 p.m., and the agricultural mechanics contest will be judged beginning at noon.

On Saturday, the pet show is at 10 a.m. A barbecue meal will be served 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and awards will be presented in the arena at 12:30. The grand finale, the Youth Fair Auction, begins at 1 p.m.


A youth rodeo will be held Friday, March 6, and Saturday, March 7, at the rodeo arena at the Wise County Fairgrounds. Gates open at 6 p.m., and the rodeo starts at 7 p.m. Books will be open 6 to 9 p.m. Monday, March 2. To enter, call 405-238-0212.

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Youth Fair Queens: 2015 Wise County 4-H contestants

Alvord 4-H


Shelby Lynn Simmons, 17, of Alvord is the daughter of Shawn and Missy Simmons. She represents the Alvord 4-H Club. She has served her club as secretary and the health and safety officer.

Shelby is also a member of Alvord FFA, Alvord FCCLA and Spanish Club. She enjoys photography, showing livestock and crafting. Her interests include horses and animal science.

Shelby’s favorite subject is English, and her favorite friend is Emily Burdine.

Shelby is a member of Alvord Baptist Church.

Boyd 4-H


Kate Hill, 16, of Boyd is the daughter of Wade and Treva Anderson. She represents the Boyd 4-H Club.

Kate is a fourth generation farmer and stockman who is active not only in 4-H, but also Boyd FFA. She is also a member of the Junior Santa Gertrudis Association, Junior American Angus Association and Junior Beefmaster Breeders United. She’s on the Boyd FFA steer and heifer show teams and is on the 2015 equine judging team.

Kate showed the 2014 champion American breed steer at the Wise County Youth Fair, and in 2013, she showed the reserve champion Santa Gertrudis heifer at the Delaney Mancil Memorial Buckle Show.

Kate also participates in 4-H photography. She’s the lead photographer and web design editor for the Boyd High School yearbook and has a 4.0 grade point average.

Kate has received awards of excellence in art, math and science, and her favorite subjects are art II and web design. She was a medal winner at the V.A.S.E. art contest with a charcoal piece.

Her hobbies include playing guitar, hunting with her dad, camping, riding horses and baking with her mom.

She is also interested in leather tooling, animation, music, veterinary science and raising cattle.

Kate is a member of the First Baptist Church in Boyd and its youth group.

Bridgeport 4-H


Molly Johanson, 9, of Bridgeport is the daughter of Mike and Jana Johanson. She represents the Bridgeport 4-H Club.

Molly has been the health and safety officer of her club and in that role, gave a presentation about eating well and exercising during the holidays. She also gave a presentation to her club about planting flowers and growing your own food.

This is only her second year in 4-H, and she said she’d like to be the Youth Fair queen to attend all the fair events and meet other 4-Hers.

“I would like to see all the animals, too,” she said. “I might see something that I would like to try next year. I am friendly and would try to make people who did not win feel better.”

This year Molly is showing a blue broken Holland Lop named Fuzz, and she hopes to get a horse. Her other pets include a Basset Hound named Boudreaux, Ollie the cat, a hedgehog named Leonardo and a guinea pig, Cocoa.

Her favorite hobby is reading, and she was recognized as the top reader in her grade the last two years. She also received gold medals for academic excellence for having the highest grade point average in her class the last two years.

Molly competes in UIL events, including ready writing, creative writing, number sense and music memory. She also made the art smart and spelling teams.

She takes piano lessons and was a pee wee cheerleader last fall. She also enjoys art, cooking and playing games on computers, iPads and iPhones.

Her best friends are Ariel and Jayden, and she enjoys soccer, softball and swim.

Science is her favorite subject, and in her free time, she hangs out with her sisters, who are in high school.

“We like to cook, go places, watch TV, play board games and put puzzles together,” she said.

Molly attends Grace Fellowship Church in Paradise and volunteers in the pre-kindergarten class. She attends the Power Zone youth service and also goes to the Kid Life Group Bible study. During the summer, she attends PZ Camp and Camp Copass.

Chico 4-H


Brianna McKeever, 11, of Chico is the daughter of Jeff and Cherie McKeever. She represents the Chico 4-H Club and is currently serving as the third vice president.

Brianna is also involved in the dog project group and received high point junior and grand champion in the dog show at the Wise County Youth Fair. She also won grand champion with her art project.

Brianna enjoys training her dog and taking care of her cows and chickens. She’s particularly interested in teaching her dog agility, obedience and conformation.

She’s also learning to play the violin and taking art classes.

Brianna’s favorite friend is Bandi Leverett, and her favorite sport is swimming. She enjoys studying history and the Bible.

Brianna is a member of the First Baptist Church in Alvord.

Paradise 4-H


Kelby Meadows, 18, of Paradise is the daughter of Ronnie and Dianne Meadows. She represents the Paradise 4-H Club. Kelby has been the club’s parliamentarian and county council delegate. She’s also a member of Paradise FFA, Santa Gertrudis Breeders International and Texas Longhorn Breeders of Tomorrow.

She’s won numerous reserve grand champion awards while showing her Santa Gertrudis and Longhorn heifers. In addition to studying agriculture, Kelby also enjoys dairy judging, beachcombing and color guard. She’s a member of the Paradise Panther Band and the Silhouette Dance competition team.

Kelby’s favorite friends are Sara Kelley and Bailey Higgins, and her favorite sport is volleyball. She’s been on mission trips to San Antonio, Oklahoma and Colorado.

Decatur 4-H


Lyndi Luttrull, 16, of Decatur is the daughter of Steve and Lisa Bradshaw and Joey and Wayla Luttrull. She represents the Decatur 4-H Club.

She is committee co-chairman for the Heart of a Champion show, a livestock show for special needs youth and adults, and has held numerous 4-H offices, including District 3 4-H second vice president, Wise County 4-H Council secretary, Wise County 4-H Council president and Decatur 4-H Club president.

Lyndi has won numerous awards throughout her 4-H career, including the Wise County 4-H Bronze Star, Wise County 4-H Silver Star and Wise County 4-H Danforth I Dare You award. She was the State Fair of Texas public speaking animal science reserve grand champion and was the high point individual in the District 3 4-H consumer decision making contest.

Lyndi has qualified for State 4-H Roundup in the food show, clothing and textiles buying and food challenge.

Most recently, Lyndi was the fourth high individual at the consumer decision making contest at the San Antonio Livestock Show and on the Wise County team that placed sixth. She also made the sale at San Antonio last month with her third-place swine.

In addition to Decatur 4-H, Lyndi is also a member of Decatur FFA, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Student Council and National Junior Honor Society.

Her FFA activities include serving as Decatur FFA secretary and being on the livestock judging team, senior chapter conducting team and radio team. She was also named Decatur FFA STAR Greenhand and District 1 FFA STAR Greenhand. She placed seventh in Texas FFA Jr. Prepared Speaking.

Lyndi said in addition to showing pigs, public speaking and livestock judging, she also enjoys studying agriculture business.

“My favorite friends are the ones I meet through 4-H and FFA because they have the same lifestyle as I do,” she said.

Lyndi’s favorite subject is chemistry, because it’s math and science combined, and her favorite sport is college football.

Lyndi is also active at Decatur Church of Christ and has volunteered at Gear Up, a free school supply event; the Helping Hands clothing closet; and as a VBS assistant. She has also gone Christmas caroling with the youth group.

Slidell/Greenwood 4-H


Brittney Nicole Bland, 14, of Greenwood is the daughter of Benny Bland and Susan Bland. She represents the Slidell/Greenwood 4-H Club.

Brittney has served her club as reporter, and she’s also been responsible for calling members to remind them of meetings. She shows sheep, and her goal is to make the Youth Fair sale.

In addition to showing sheep, she also enjoys riding horses and playing basketball. She hopes to become a starter on the Slidell basketball team.

Her favorite friend is her dad.

“He’s always there to back me up and help me out with my sheep and school work,” she said.

Brittney’s favorite subject is communications, and she’s working hard to make all A’s to get into honors classes. Her goal is to go to law school.

In addition to 4-H, Brittney is also a member of Slidell FFA. Her favorite sport is basketball, and her church activities include cowboy camp, Fuge Camp, mission trips and working in concession stands with her youth group. They also have car washes to raise money.

“After law school, I plan on owning my own sheep farm and being a very successful person,” she said.

Brittney’s favorite color is green.

Clothing and Textiles 4-H Club


Jennifer Shaffer, 16, of Alvord is the daughter of Steven and Laura Shaffer. She represents the Clothing and Textiles Club of which she is vice president.

Jennifer also served as the club’s vice president in 2012-2013 and was the club’s reporter last year. She is also the Wise County Nutrition Quiz Bowl team captain.

In addition to the Clothing and Textiles Club, Jennifer is also active with the photography project group. In 2012, she won grand champion storyboard at the county level, and in 2013, she won grand champion black and white print. She has also won numerous first, second and third places with her photography at the Alvord Project Show.

Her favorite hobbies include dance hooping, pet training, computer programming, crocheting and playing numerous instruments, including the ukulele, piano, keyboard, recorder, guitar and violin.

Jennifer’s favorite subject is Spanish, and she said she’s “very interested in the structure of language and its evolution.”

She also enjoys drawing, writing, music, cake decorating, baking and typing.

Jennifer narrated her church’s Christmas play and volunteers at the Alvord Public Library. She competes on the Decatur High School computer science team, is a member of the DHS debate team, tennis team and the new disc golf team. She even helped design the disc golf team’s banner.

Jennifer knows how to juggle and is active in the Otaku Club at the Decatur Public Library.

She made her dress for the Queens Contest.

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Youth Fair Queens: 2015 Wise County FCCLA contestants



Skylar Anderson, 18, is the daughter of Reba Rivers. She is representing Boyd FCCLA and serves as president of her chapter.

Skylar is also active in FFA and National Honor Society. Her favorite subjects are history and geography, and her favorite sport is baseball.

Skylar’s hobbies include planning, drawing, spending time with her animals, going to the movies, reading, organizing, shooting and puzzles.

She’s also interested in art, agriculture, history, poetry and management.

Skylar has been named an All-Star actress and is on the A/B honor roll. Her favorite friend is Alexis Crane.

Skylar works at Pizza Place in Boyd and wants to be a nurse.

“After high school, I plan on attending North Central Texas College to pursue a pediatric nursing degree,” she said.

Paradise FCCLA


Shelby Boyers, 18, of Paradise is the daughter of Mike and Debbie Boyers. She represents Paradise FCCLA.

She has been an officer in her FCCLA chapter, as well as a Beta Club representative. Shelby enjoys traveling and making memories with her cheerleading squad.

In addition to cheering, she’s also interested in tumbling, and she may pursue a nursing career.

Her best friends are Marki, Matti and Kaylee.

“We’ve grown up together since our diaper days,” she said.



Whitney Stapleton, 16, of Chico is the daughter of Holly Stapleton. She represents Chico FCCLA.

Whitney has been president of her FCCLA chapter and has won numerous awards at the Wise County Youth Fair.

She enjoys reading and collecting snow globes, and her favorite subject is math. Whitney’s favorite sport is basketball. She is also in band.

Her favorite friend is Taylor Gardner, and she attends youth group activities at the Decatur Church of Christ. She’s also attended church camps.

Alvord FCCLA


Jacie Breanna Donald, 17, of Alvord is the daughter of Branda Bailey. She represents Alvord FCCLA and is currently serving as vice president.

Jacie enjoys spending time with her friends and family, especially her baby brother, Axton.

She’s the student council historian, and her favorite subject is science. Jacie plans to attend Weatherford College and pursue a nursing degree.

Her favorite friend is Amber Orr.

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Youth Fair Queens: 2015 Wise County FFA contestants

Bridgeport FFA


Remington Swensson, 17, of Paradise is the daughter of Dawn and Erik Swensson. She represents Bridgeport FFA and is the senior leader of the Bridgeport FFA floriculture team.

She has also served the chapter as FFA Greenhand officer and historian.

Remington was a member of the Bridgeport FFA district, area and state qualifying livestock judging teams in 2011. In 2012, she received the STAR Greenhand award and was an FFA state finalist in junior prepared public speaking. In 2014, she received her Texas FFA Lone Star Degree and was a finalist, placing third, at the FFA State Agri-Science Fair.

She placed third at the San Antonio Livestock Show Agri-Science Fair and is a Level 1 State of Texas certified florist after passing the required tests with knowledge gained through the FFA floriculture program.

Remington was the 2013-14 Floriculture Student of the Year.

She’s a member of 4-H and has won the Wise County Bronze and Silver Star awards, as well as many other honors from showing and competing in 4-H activities, including record books, public speaking, livestock judging, showing dogs and showing livestock.

Remington has been a member of the Mighty Maroon Marching Band since 2011 and was drum major in 2012, 2013 and 2014. She was also the band’s homecoming nominee. She qualified for state solo and ensemble with flute trio in 2012 and 2015. She also earned the highest ratings from all judges in 2012 and will compete at the UIL state solo and ensemble contest in May 2015.

Remington was recognized and honored as an Outstanding Leader 2014 at SASi Leadership Camp at the University of North Texas in Denton.

She’s been on the varsity golf team since 2012 and was an All-District player her first year. She was part of the district golf champion team in 2013 and 2014, and the team qualified for state in 2013, finishing in the top 10.

Remington is a member of National Honor Society Altoa Chapter, prom committee and P.A.L.S. (Peer Assisted Learning Strategies).

Remington has been chosen as Bridgeport High School Class of 2015 Outstanding Senior, and she’s been accepted to Texas Christian University.

She’s been on the A/B Honor Roll 2011 through 2014 and was named a Student of the Month 2011-2014. She made the all A honor roll the first semester of this school year.

Her favorite subjects are science and English, and she’s also interested in music, biology and chemistry.

Remington enjoys drawing, riding horses, reading books, traveling, showing cattle and dogs, making floral arrangements and spending time with family and friends.

She’s a member of the First United Methodist Church in Bridgeport and is a member of the youth group. She has played her flute and bass flute during special music and offertory music during services over the years and has participated in numerous church activities, including Bridgeport Gives Back in 2011, Acts of Random Kindness Day in 2012, the church’s community-wide Thanksgiving dinner 2009-2014 and helping in areas as needed by the Trustee Committee.

Paradise FFA


Shelby Bradshaw, 18, of Decatur is the daughter of Steve and Lisa Bradshaw and Jeff and Janice Clark. She represents Paradise FFA and is currently the chapter president, as well as the Area 5 District 1 FFA president.

She was Paradise FFA reporter her sophomore and junior years and is currently serving as the Beta Club representative and student council reporter. She’s also a member of the Paradise Buyers Association and Paradise Ag Supporters.

Her favorite subject is animal science, and her favorite sport is volleyball.

Shelby was named to the first team All-District volleyball, first team All-Wise County volleyball and academic All-State volleyball. She was also the 2012 STAR Greenhand for the Paradise FFA chapter and District 1. She has received her STAR Lone Star Farmer Degree, was the 2013 STAR Chapter Farmer and was part of a three-time state qualifying livestock judging team. Shelby has also been named Outstanding Senior Swine Feeder.

Her interests include showing market swine and playing sports.

Her favorite friend is her mom “because she has been there with me since the beginning and no matter how hard she tries, she can’t get rid of me.”

Shelby is also involved in the Decatur and Springtown Church of Christ youth groups. She volunteers at Gear Up, a free school supply event every summer, and she has participated in the “Awaken” youth trip. Shelby also helped teach Bible school for fifth and sixth graders.

Slidell FFA


Makayla Fitzgerald, 15, of Bridgeport is the daughter of Monty and Melissa Fitzgerald. She represents Slidell FFA and is currently serving as chapter president.

Makayla is also president of her class. She’s a cross country district champion and UIL prose regional qualifier, and she plays basketball.

Makayla is close to her basketball teammates, and her favorite subject is math.

She enjoys camping, fishing and sports, and she’s a member of the First Baptist Church in Decatur.

Makayla is also a member of 4-H.

Alvord FFA


Miracle Petree, 17, of Alvord is the daughter of Kim McDermott. She represents Alvord FFA and currently serves as adviser.

Miracle has also been the FFA sentinel. She’s also served as NTLBA youth secretary and president, OTLA secretary, TLBT treasurer and reporter, Spanish Club president and National Honor Society vice president. Miracle was a member of FCCLA last year.

Her hobbies include shopping, showing Longhorns, texting and hanging out with family.

Boyd FFA


Taylor Ragsdale, 16, of Decatur is the daughter of Tamara and Garry Ragsdale. She represents Boyd FFA and is currently chapter treasurer. She’s also the District 1 FFA president, as well as president of her class.

Taylor is a member of the National Honor Society and is a high school cheerleader. She’s been named UCA All- American cheerleader twice. She was also the STAR Greenhand and was part of the 2012 state qualifying Career Development Event in milk quality. She won the 2013 student award for English I and was the 2014 homecoming princess.

Taylor enjoys learning difficult tasks, working with kids, playing sports and trying new things. Her favorite sport is cheerleading, and her favorite subject is English.

Taylor works for University of Gymnastics coaching children from 18 months to 14 years old, and she is also part of the mentoring program at her school.

Chico FFA


Leslie Robbins, 17, of Chico is the daughter of Maria Hoket and Wes Robbins. She represents Chico FFA.

Leslie is the FFA committee chairman and is also a member of Fellowship of Christian Athletes, choir and student council. She also participates in the co-op or work program at her school. Her favorite subject is anatomy and physiology, and her interests include Emergency Medical Services, showing pigs, rodeo, cheerleading and tumbling.

Leslie’s favorite sport is basketball, and she also enjoys singing, playing guitar, mudding and riding her horse.

Leslie is on the A honor roll, and her favorite friend is Jacob Romines.

Decatur FFA


Shelby Drews, 18, of Decatur is the daughter of Tanya Drews. She is representing Decatur FFA.

Shelby is also a member of the National Honor Society, student council, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Students Against Destructive Decisions.

She enjoys basketball, showing, photography and video editing and Leadership and Career Development events.

She is a premier exhibitor in Decatur FFA and was basketball MVP for Wise County. She also made the academic All- District team.

Shelby was a lay witness for Christ nominee, and she enjoys hanging out with her family and friends. She’s part of the Crossroads youth group and helps with childcare on Sunday mornings.

Shelby’s favorite subject is history, but she’s also interested in basketball, photography and showing her lambs and pigs.

“The definition of my favorite friend is someone that knows me inside out and would do anything for me,” she said. “They help me through hard times and laugh about the good times.”

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Youth Fair parade revived for 2015 event

The 63rd Annual Wise County Youth Fair will be kicked off with a parade Saturday, Feb. 28.

It will be the first Youth Fair parade in several decades, and organizers hope it will raise awareness of the event and encourage families to visit the show March 2-7 at the Wise County Fairgrounds.

Past Parade

PAST PARADE – Alvord 4-H Club’s entry wishing America a “happy birthday” won Best Float in the 1976 Youth Fair parade. This photo was originally published in a Youth Fair catalog. Submitted photo

Youth Fair board member James Hubbard, who came up with the idea, said everyone in the community is invited to participate. Businesses, fire departments, non-profit organizations, school groups, churches and of course, 4-H clubs, FFA chapters and FCCLA groups.

Lineup starts at 9 a.m. on Business 81/287 at Sandford Oil in Decatur. The parade starts at 10 a.m., and it will travel west on Walnut Street, south on Lane Street and east on Main Street to return to the start.

Hubbard said participants in the Heart of a Champion Show will be the grand marshals, and the Youth Fair queen nominees will ride in a horse-drawn wagon.

Awards will be given, and winners will be recognized just before the start of the auction Saturday at the fairgrounds.

To participate in the parade, call Hubbard at 940-389-5735 or fill out an application on

See the Feb. 25 All Around Wise for a Youth Fair Preview section. It will include the fair schedule, a story highlighting changes to this year’s event and profiles of all the queens contestants.

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Heart of a Champion: Wise County Youth Fair adds special show

Heart of a Champion: Wise County Youth Fair adds special show

A new event has been added to the lineup at the Wise County Youth Fair this year.

A special event will be held Friday, March 6, to share the show ring experience with special needs children and adults.

From the Diamond to the Show Ring

FROM THE DIAMOND TO THE SHOW RING – The folks with Wise County Special Needs Baseball are working with 4-H and FFA representatives to plan a livestock show for special needs children and adults at this year’s Wise County Youth Fair. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Dubbed Heart of a Champion, the livestock show was the result of a brainstorming session between sisters – Shelby Bradshaw, Lyndi Luttrull and Lauryn Luttrull.

“We were on vacation on the way to Tampa, Fla.,” said Lauryn, “and we were talking about what we wanted to do in the future, our goals. Then we saw a special needs family … we talked in the past about doing something like this, so Mom made a Facebook post, and it kind of took off from there.

“We made a committee, and it blossomed like a flower.”

Shelby said last year they saw students with special needs showing at the San Antonio Livestock Show, but they were at a disadvantage because they couldn’t handle the animals alone.

“They have to have someone else with them, so we thought it would be cool to do something so they could have their own show,” she said.

The committee has been working closely with the families involved in Wise County Special Needs Baseball and anticipates reaching many people through that organization.

Although 4-H and FFA are open only to youth, the special needs baseball group encouraged the committee to open the show to all ages, just like its program.

On the day of the show, volunteers will arrive at 4 p.m. for training. Participants (youth and adult) will arrive at 4:30 and will be matched with two volunteers and their animal, either a pig, lamb, goat, rabbit or dog.

Lyndi said the participant will have time to get to know the animal and do things like brush it and prepare it for the show ring.

The participants will go into the show ring with their helpers, and the emcee, NBC news anchor Deborah Ferguson, will interact with the participants and facilitate activity in the ring.

Lyndi said as participants exit the ring, they will each receive a rosette and will have their photo taken in front of the Youth Fair backdrop. Photos will be printed on site and given to the participants as a keepsake.

After the show, a hot dog and hamburger supper will be served in the Women’s Building.

Most of the expenses associated with the show have already been covered, but volunteers are still needed. The girls said anyone can help, and it’s not necessary to have an animal project or even be in 4-H or FFA to lend a hand.

The sisters made presentations to the Decatur Lions Club and Decatur Womens’ Club looking for help.

“Even if they don’t want to be hands-on,” Lyndi said, “just sitting in the stands and clapping is more than enough.”

The girls have no idea what to expect, but Lyndi said she hopes to see some smiling faces.

“I hope they feel included in something, and they get to have experiences in something that they might not have otherwise had the opportunity to,” she said.

Shelby added that she wants the participants to have fun and relish the opportunity to connect with an animal.

The girls hope the event becomes an annual tradition and is possibly eventually tied to the sale.

“The flower has blossomed, and now we have to, like a dandelion, let the seeds spread,” Lauryn said.

The deadline for participants to register is Monday, Feb. 2. Volunteers must sign up by Monday, Feb. 23. To sign up, call the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Office at 940-627-3341 or email

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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