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August 27, 2012

Cattle teach responsibility

Students learn from showing livestock

DUNCAN — Many parents are told “Want to teach your child responsibility, get them a horse.”

However, some parents heard something a bit different. They get their child a cow.

This is the case with several families within Stephens County and many of them could be found at the Stephens County Fair Cattle Show Friday afternoon.

For a few of these 4-H and FFA members, they are closing in on the last one or two years of their career.

“This isn’t the end for me even though it kind of is because I plan to have kids some day and share this with them,” said Central High senior Will Derryberry. “I couldn’t be much prouder at how I’ve done and (showing) has taught me a lot.”

Derryberry is in his second year of showing cattle but showed pigs beginning at the age of two.

Like many of the others, he grew up in the show barn and fell in love with the whole idea at a young age.

He made the switch from pigs to cattle due to more than one reason.

Derryberry said he always like the way cattle were fitted and it gave him a new challenge.

It was a challenge that took a lot of hard work and just as much help, but one he said has been worth it.

“I tried it last year and did good,” said the winner of the Grand Champion title in the Heifer division. “All you need is one good cow and (my cow’s) babies will worth even more.”

Derryberry gives plenty of credit to his family for the support, time and money they gave him for his ambitions. However, he said the program has taught him much responsibility and how to handle things when he does find himself alone and how to be a teacher.

“I will help anyone who needs it,” said Derryberry. “If they name any trouble, I’ll help them out.”

Another upper-level cattle shower who understands the importance of family support is Colt Elam, whose mother Connie is almost always in attendance for his shows. Colt has been showing cattle since he was four and is now a junior at Empire.

“I don’t remember being scared of (the cattle),” said Colt when asked about his early years in showing. “My mom is always there and I’ve learned a lot of responsibility.”

For Connie, it has been a joy to watch her son grow through his participation in the cattle showing program. She’s said she’s been amazed at listening to him give advice to younger kids that he really did pay attention to what he was told when he was young.

“It’s been fun to see him learn so much and it’s been good for him to learn to balance and work hard,” she said. “He’s grown up in to someone I am proud of and we’ve made a lot of good memories.”

Kaila Williams, a junior at Central High, has shown cattle since she was eight, which is something she said she has always wanted to do. Only 2-weeks-old for her first livestock show, Williams knows it’s something she’s always loved.

“I’ve had my ups and downs (in the show ring) but in the end it’s all worth it and I continue to put my heart and soul into it,” she said.

Not only does Williams raise her own cattle, her herd is something she plans on continuing long after she graduates. Showing since a young age has helped her learn more and make contacts she will continue to need.

“It’s helped me to get to know people and different breeders,” said Williams. “I get to hear their stories and gain product knowledge.”

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