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Port Lavaca graduate part of national winning judging team

By Jessica Rodrigo
Jan. 28, 2014 at midnight
Updated Jan. 27, 2014 at 7:28 p.m.

The Texas A&M University Livestock Judging Team and the 2013 National Collegiate Livestock Judging Contest champions. Front row from right: Justin James, MaKayla Spaman, Keaton Dodd, Everleigh Hayes and Corey Sanchez. Back row from left, Caleb Boardman, coach, Cassidy Hayes, coach, Holly Behrens, Brett Moriarty, Konni Kelso, and Brant Poe, coach.

Everleigh Hayes is no stranger to livestock shows.

She made her way onto the livestock show circuit in Calhoun County when she was 8 years old. It was an experience that paved the way to where she is now.

In November, Hayes, 22, of Port Lavaca, was on the Texas A&M University Livestock Judging Team that was named national champions at the 2013 National Collegiate Livestock Judging Contest in Louisville, Ky.

"It was awesome. All our hard work paid off," she said. "It was the first time for A&M to win since '06."

The group of 12 students competed against other college teams in oral presentations and debates, in which they had to defend and explain their judgments on the animals.

"The 2013 team is excited and honored to bring another national championship home to Aggieland and carry on the tradition," said Brant Poe, lecturer in the department of animal science and team coordinator. "These young men and women understand that they were representing something more than just themselves; they performed their best for their team and the university," Poe said.

Hayes is a senior agricultural leadership and development major and the daughter of Jimmy and Paula Hayes, of Port Lavaca.

She hopes to finish the graduate program in two years and pursue her doctorate to teach at the college level. While juggling the workload, she said she judges at different shows and returns to Port Lavaca to help her parents raise show pigs.

"That's a big part of my life, and I grew up doing that," Hayes said. "Hopefully, I can carry on that tradition."

Her biggest piece of advice for students who are showing and judging animals is to stick with it.

"Live it up as long as you can," she said. "The experiences you get get out of it - like the speaking skills and self-confidence and learning how to evaluate livestock - are awesome."

She misses showing every weekend like she did with the livestock shows but said it's something she'll always be passionate about.



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