Courtney Wallace, a Malakoff High School Senior, will turn 18-years old in April. She has been showing her animals in Livestock Shows since the tender age of three. After starting kindergarten at the Cross Roads Independent School District, Courtney transferred to Malakoff in the fourth grade.
Courtney's mother, Paula Wallace, is a fifth-grade teacher in the Malakoff School District. Paula said she started the Henderson County Clover Kids in 1999, with the intent for her daughter to be able to compete in livestock shows.
Courtney continued to be a part of Clover Kids until 2004. Each year, she participated in the Food Show, Project Show and showed the animals. In 2001, she showed the same three animals. But in 2002, they stopped showing lambs, and starting showing rabbits in their place.
Courtney said, “I became involved with agriculture at birth. My dad had a herd of cattle, and we had a horse. But when my older sister, Amanda Wallace Mattingly, got in third grade, everything changed. Amanda began showing pigs, and we all fell in love. I was only two at this time, but I was out and around her project. We also traveled to several jackpot shows, so I developed a love for animals and showing at a young age.”
Throughout Courtney's livestock career, she has shown rabbits, lambs, pigs, heifers and participated in project shows.
Courtney said one exciting swine event was the year her sister was in eighth grade, 2003. She had a pig that placed second at the Houston Stock Show.
Courtney was so excited for her sister, and loved telling everybody about her success and Rocky the pig.
Several adults loved to ask Courtney the pig’s name, because of the way she would say, “Rocky!” Still to this day, Ken McGee will ask Courtney what that pig’s name was, and she says “Rocky!” This year, Courtney hopes her pig does as good as Rocky, because he looks a lot like him. However, his name is Romeo, and his buddy is Juliet.
In 2010, Courtney began showing heifers. Her first year, she showed Molly, a registered gray Brahman from her sister’s herd. Being her first year, she only attended Henderson County Livestock Show to be sure she would like showing cattle.
That year, she ran in the calf scramble, and caught the calf. With that money, she purchased a registered Hereford that she named Sister. Courtney showed her at East Texas State Fair, Fort Worth, Houston and Henderson County.
Again, she ran, and again, she caught, Courtney purchased another Hereford, Princess. She showed Princess in Fort Worth and Houston, and she and Sister at Henderson County the next year.
Courtney's junior year she showed Princess again in Fort Worth, Houston and Henderson County, plus an unregistered Red Angus at Henderson County.
“Since it was my senior year, I decided to go back to Gray Brahman,” she said. “So getting rid of my Hereford allowed me to purchase this year’s calf. They found a young heifer I could afford, and my work began in October 2013.”
Courtney has worked very hard, and the calf has improved a great deal.
Courtney said, “I am so attached, and others my age cannot understand why she means so much to me, but she is my baby. Just recently, I went out to feed one afternoon, and she was gone. It scared me so bad thinking what could have happen. Did someone steal her? Did she get out on the road, or what? I noticed she had run through a gate and bent it in half. So then, it was, how bad is she hurt? We finally found her, and thank goodness, she only had a few cuts and scrapes.”
Her mother is proud of her daughter who has competed in Fort Worth, Houston and Henderson County Livestock Shows.
This year is going to be hard after 15 years as a participant coming to an end.
“I will be back to help each year, as often as college and career allow,” Courtney said.
At the 2014 Henderson County Livestock Show, Courtney plans on showing a Heifer, two hogs and three broilers.
Courtney was also chosen by the Malakoff Rotary Club to attend Rotary Youth Leadership Camp (RYLA) in 2013. The Camp is designed to teach high school students leadership skills.
Courtney's future plans after high school include studying Agriculture Business at Sam Houston State University.
Courtney said, “It has been great, especially being involved in 4H and FFA, but I am ready to write a new chapter in my book of life, titled higher education.”
Courtney explains her attraction to livestock shows.
“Many people have asked me why I love showing, and the best way to sum it up is by what one of my sister’s classmates said one time, ‘People say the animals and barns stink, but to me it is the smell of money.’”