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Community supports disqualified Refugio County youth (video)

By ALLISON MILES
March 23, 2013 at 10:05 p.m.
Updated March 23, 2013 at 10:24 p.m.


Leader gives show high marks

The 2013 Refugio County Livestock Show proved a success, said Michael Donalson, extension agent for agriculture and natural resources with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. He attributed the success in part to changes organizers made.

This year's auction occurred inside Padilla Hall instead of the barns, he said, to provide a more comfortable setting for buyers and possibly higher auction bids.

Participation was up, he said, and Refugio County seems to be more involved in the show than in recent years. Another new event gave special needs children a chance to show animals. Three youths participated in that event.

"This was our way to make sure everybody was included," he said.

REFUGIO - A disqualification from the 2013 Refugio County Livestock Show brought unexpected life lessons for one area teen.

Courtney Myers was preparing her market lamb for this year's show - her second year competing in the category - with help from her breeder. It was something the 17-year-old said she didn't realize was against the rules.

"I didn't know what 'fitting' meant," she said outside Padilla Hall, where the show's auction was under way. "I should have looked it up."

Rule No. 19 in the handbook states, "All fitting after check-in will be done by the exhibitor or by family members only."

She said a woman snapped a picture of the breeder working with the animal and reported it to show officials. Myers was later disqualified from competing.

"A lot of people said it was because of competition," she said.

The decision came on the heels of another disappointment - her other lamb died unexpectedly March 16.

While the Refugio High School junior admitted she was in the wrong, she said she wished the person had approached her first.

"If it was me, and I'd seen something like that, I'd walk over and tell them what it said in the rule book," she said. "I'd give them a warning."

But the Blanconia 4-H member, who is also involved with Refugio County FFA, soon realized she had support from her community.

Refugio County residents pooled together funds - $5,800 in total - for next year's lamb.

Joe Braman, owner and CEO of Braman Brands, contributed $4,500 to the cause. He said his donation came not only because he is friends with Myers' family, but because the show is about the children.

"My feeling is you should at least use discretion with your decisions," he said, regarding the choice to report Myers to show organizers. "The least we can do is support the kids. They put a lot of work in to these animals."

Myers said she was grateful for the surprise donation and to know she had so many people behind her.

"I just want to thank everyone who gave," she said. "It means so much."

That support was similar to what she displayed throughout the show. Although she didn't compete, she offered advice to friends and helped with a new event, which allowed special needs children to show animals.

She said it just felt right to do her part.

"They say you should show the better person," she said. "And I want to be the better person."

Myers said she looks forward to the 2014 show, her last year competing before graduation.

"I plan to have the best lamb," she said with a smile.

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