Athens Review, Athens, Texas

March 11, 2013

Their final year

Two seniors tell how HCLS has improved their lives

Joe Elerson
The Athens Review

Athens — CROSS ROADS — The road to the Henderson County Livestock Show culminates in one week for two Cross Roads seniors looking to leave their mark on the competition.

For Makayla Arnold and Kennedy Rogers, this will be their final trip to the Livestock grounds after a lifetime of competing in the biggest show in Athens.

“This means a lot to me since I have been doing it since the third grade,” Arnold said. “It is kind of bittersweet, because this is my last year, and I am really going to miss it a lot.”

Rogers also has benefitted from her long tenure with the show.

“I have been doing this for eight years, and I think it has taught me to be more confident in myself,” she said. “Showing has helped me to get out and know everyone that is competing. I enjoy doing this a lot during the year.”

For Arnold, the week of competition will be a busy one, as her resume has her stacked for the week.

“This year, I competed in the Queen contest, and I will be in the yearling project, the breed and goat show, the market lamb show, breeding rabbits and I have entered 25 projects,” Arnold said.

For Rogers, she has taken an easier road in her final trip to the Livestock show.

“I am doing two projects and a shop project,” Rogers said. “I have two goats that I am showing and commercial heifers and steers. With steers, you start right after the last livestock show the previous year. With the goats, you start preparing in the middle of the year.”

Arnold said that with the years she has been showing animals, it has helped her decide on her college plans in the fall.

“That is why I decided to be an ag teacher. That way I can still be a part of it after I graduate,” Arnold said. “I am going to go to Ranger Community College in Stephenville, and then transfer to Tarleton after I graduate with my Associates degree.”

For most students, experience pays off in helping build confidence for kids to perform at the best of their abilities during big competitions.

“I have learned a lot with responsibility, respect for animals and people,” Arnold said. “It has taught me who I am, and it is my life, because it has taught me so much.”

Rogers said she wanted to take part in as many different areas as she could until she found her top project for the show.

“I started out with just projects, and then went to rabbits, and I just wanted to try everything out. My major project is goats, and I have gone to Fort Worth with these goats,” Rogers said. “My goats have been the longest project that I have ever been with.”

For both seniors, they said they are focused on the top prize at the Livestock Show March 18-23.

“This year, I really want to be Grand Champion Yearling,” Arnold said. “I have worked for four years now to get it, and this year would mean so much more for me to get it, since I am a senior. I really want that Grand Champion ribbon.”

Rogers agreed to the competition’s importance, especially this year.

“It is about the same thing for me but for goats,” Rogers said. “The last year I was right behind for third for Grand, and the year before, I was third overall, so I really want to get it this year.”