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March 2, 2012

Graaa-nd day

Duncan’s rochell wraps up showing career

DUNCAN — Ryan Rochell grew up raising goats and hogs, an interest he carried through to the 2012 Stephens County Junior Livestock Show.

Rochell, who is Duncan’s FFA president, received a reserve grand champion plaque for doe goats on Thursday morning, two days after capturing a reserve grand champion award for barrow hogs.

For Rochell and the other area seniors at the Stephens County Fair & Expo Center this week, the Junior Livestock Show was the last opportunity to show their animals while in high school. In Rochell’s case, Thursday’s goat show wrapped up his livestock showing experience.

“(Raising and showing livestock is) just something I’ve really enjoyed,” Rochell said, following the swan song performances. “It’s a big chunk of my life gone. A lot of people say they won’t miss it. I know I will.”

Rochell started showing animals when he was about 6 years old. He and his brother Blake started by showing rabbits. About the time he was 9 years old, the Rochell brothers had graduated to hogs. A year later, they moved into showing goats.

It’s been 10 years since Ryan Rochell started with hogs, but he still gets excited when working animals in the show ring. This year, he even helped out some friends by showing their sheep, something he’s never done before.

Rochell has been involved in the Duncan High School FFA all through high school. He spent two years as chapter treasurer, before becoming chapter president for this school year.

He’s had fun working with the other FFA members, and has made friends from other chapters and in other parts of the state.

When it comes to livestock shows, it isn’t just about showing animals. Although, Rochell does enjoy the competition.

In talking with his mother, Carol, it won’t take long to discover how proud she is of her two sons. She said both of them are choosing career paths that will keep them involved in agriculture.

Because Ryan Rochell has been involved in showing livestock most of his life, the family has been there to capture much of it. In fact, his mother has put together three sizable scrapbooks to document his successes.

Carol described Thursday’s goat show as “bittersweet,” because it was the end of Rochell’s high school livestock showing days. In essence, the goat show was her son’s graduation from the livestock arena.

Despite being a senior, Rochell expects to be visible next year, helping out at various livestock shows, much like graduates from other area schools have done.

Showing livestock has consumed a large part of Rochell’s life.

The shows and raising livestock have kept him busy, but it’s been a fun ride.

“It’s not something I could have done without,” Rochell said.

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