WoodHi girl perseveres at livestock show (w/video, gallery)
Feb. 28, 2014 at 5 p.m.
Updated Feb. 28, 2014 at 9:01 p.m.
Jackie, a large black heifer, twisted the reins away from her handler not once, not twice, but three times on the second day of judging at the Victoria Livestock Show.
On the third time, the 72-pound, 4-foot-5-inch girl hanging on to the other end of the rope went airborne.
Jackie wasn't 12-year-old Taylor Kruppa's sweepstakes heifer. She was helping her brother, Dylan, 15, show the animal because he was busy with another.
Without missing a beat, Taylor got back up, dusted her jeans off and joined others in the arena to catch the animal, which was bowing its head aggressively.
"I was attempting to get her feet not as cockeyed to make her look a little bit better and represent her really good for my brother," Taylor said afterward. "It's not really her (Jackie's) fault. She was spooked by the new surroundings."
While Taylor admits the fall hurt, she said she wasn't scared.
"I just wanted to get back up and show the heifer who is the boss. She can't throw me around," Taylor said.
Taylor has six siblings, all of whom have competed or will compete at the Victoria Livestock Show.
She's not afraid to get a little dirty, and this isn't her first setback.
On Monday, one of her commercial heifers, Lil Mama, died unexpectedly while waiting in line to be tagged.
Taylor stifled some tears when talking about it, but she was ready to move on and show a steer later Friday.
She wants to raise enough money to attend Baylor University and become a pediatrician.
"I couldn't picture my life without the livestock show," Taylor said. "I think I'd just sit at home all day and be bored."
Taylor's father, Zach Kruppa, 37, said the first time his children got a gaming console was about four years ago.
"It's a Wii, which is more educational," he said.
Participating in the show means they wake up early each morning on their farm in WoodHi, between Dacosta and Telferner. The children also must calculate how much feed and trips to the vet cost, which teaches them responsibility and respect.
"It's not really about the money; it's about the experience," her father said.
Lane Marbach, a 14-year-old Victoria West High School student, meanwhile, decided to try something new.
He showed two 600-pound longhorns in the commercial heifer competition, a first in Victoria Livestock Show history, his mom, Shelly Marbach, said.
Lane is a big University of Texas Longhorns fan. His favorite coach is Mack Brown. A smile stretched across his face when he talked about how he attended a game in which Colt McCoy played.
"They (UT's football program) are not doing so great now, but that's OK," he said.
Lane said he won't be surprised if the animals don't take home a prize. Although he feeds them about 400 pounds of feed each week, they are hard to fatten up.
"Most people were like, 'Whoa! Why are these things here?'" Lane said, chuckling.