Since 1919

The Prairie News

Since 1919

The Prairie News

Since 1919

The Prairie News

Buffs handle swine at Rodeo Austin

Maddox Nite

West Texas A&M University’s Paul Engler College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences took 25 agriculture students to organize, plan and participate in the youth swine show at Rodeo Austin Livestock Show and Rodeo March 8-23.

The students that went had several tasks to complete every day, from setting up pens to hosting events.

“Rodeo Austin is what is considered a major livestock show in Texas,” Dr. Lance Kieth, department head and Professor of Agriculture Education, said. “There are several, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Houston. But the Rodeo Austin is a bigger event within itself.”

The students who were chosen to go and participate had to meet some qualifications.

“We try to pick students who have had some background in stock showing in agriculture,” McKinley Begert, graduate student and recruitment coordinator for the agriculture department, said. “Lots of our students have shown in these major shows. We like to take those students that are passionate about it. It gives them an opportunity to be on a different side.”

Managing and showing in these shows are two different things. Going to Rodeo Austin gives students a chance to see that firsthand.

“I think any parent that is going to have a kid play basketball should have to ref a game before the kid ever plays,” Dr. Kieth said. “And the same goes for stock showing. The parent should have that experience of running or judging a show. You don’t get quite as angry when things don’t go your way. When those students become professionals, they’re less apt to get angry now that they have a perspective.”

But what is the workload like for students? Begert had this to say.

“We worked three days,” Begert said. “Pretty much from sunup to sundown. We left the hotel at 5 a.m. one morning and 6 a.m. two mornings. It is a lot of physical labor. It’s not necessarily the most fun work, but it really benefits all the exhibitors. When you’re working hard like that, it gives you great experience that you can always put on a resume.”

This program is offered every year for different agriculture students.

“[It is] pretty much always the same time of year,” Dr. Kieth said. “It is a great recruiting time for us. Because these high school kids and FFA see our students engaged in the industry so they want to come here and be a part of it. So it’s not only teaching our students but a way to recruit the next generation.”

Though students are in charge of organizing and running the swine event, they are supervised by a few Agriculture professors.

“Me, Dr. Lance Kieth, Dr. Kevin Williams and Dr. Nate Wolf go and supervise, but we are also helping in the ring as well,” Begert said. “We start by checking animals in, help pull them through their pens and the day before we’ll help unload trailers and things like that.”

The WT students themselves worked on the swine show.

“We travel down the day before and we start the next morning to help set up a couple things,” Kieth said. “The students assist with unloading, so we can expedite getting all the animals in. Because roughly 850 to 900 pigs show up. And the next morning we get up and show pigs again.”

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Maddox Nite
Maddox Nite, Multimedia Reporter
Hello! My name is Maddox Nite. I am freshman majoring in digital communication and media with a minor in creative writing from Amarillo, Texas. And after graduation I hope to move someplace new and write for a newspaper. I love books, video games, lifting, and performing in shows at the Amarillo Little Theatre. I am very proud and grateful to be the Campus News Multimedia Reporter at TPN this year, and I can’t wait for more years to come!

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