The morning rain and the ongoing pandemic was not enough to stop area students from bringing their projects to the first day of the 75th annual Victoria Livestock Show on Thursday.
The day’s events included judging for market goats, market lambs, agricultural mechanics and announcing the winner of the carcasses of steers, hogs and lambs. The junior breeding bulls category also made its first appearance in many years with nine entries, including one from 12-year-old Derek Hempel.
Derek, who is a member of the Guadalupe 4-H Club, showed a Simmental bull named Cimarron. He said the bull was a lot more work to break than the heifers or steers he has shown in past years.
The bull also took some extra work from Derek during the winter storm that set freezing temperature records across the state.
The cold weather meant Derek couldn’t bathe the bull. Usually, he would bathe each one of his cattle three or more times a week.
Also, he had to break ice in water troughs, provide heat lamps and wake up in the middle of the night to check on and feed his bull and other livestock, just like many full-time cattle ranchers in the Crossroads had to do.
Cimarron is also an animal that Derek and his uncle, David Juenke, both agreed has a lot more attitude than heifers or steers.
“It leads him more than he leads it,” Juenke said.
If Derek can get a tamer bull, he said he would show one again.
Whether raising bulls, heifers or steers, Juenke said his nephew has always been working with cattle and always will.
“He eats this stuff up,” Juenke said.
Derek and the other eight contestants demonstrated how well they broke their bulls as well as the bulls’ physical stature by setting them up and leading them around the ring.
In the Junior Breeding Bull category, Morgyn Hempel, 16, of Heritage Homeschool 4-H Club, won grand champion with a 1,675-pound polled Hereford.
Hudson Matthews, 16, of Nursery 4-H Club, won reserve champion with a 1,600-pound red Brahman.
Lambs and goats were also judged Thursday. Eric Zimmerman, Texas A&M University District Extension administrator, judged the animals on various attributes such as smoothness of coat and the animals’ bone structures.
After narrowing down the lightweight, mid and heavy lambs and goats, some exhibitors shed tears of joy while parents and supporters in the stands jumped with joy as the champions were announced. Coyt Miller, of the High Bidders 4-H Club, showed the champion market lamb, while Magi Jo Cantu, of the Inez 4-H Club, showed the champion goat.
See the full schedule for the 2021 Victoria Livestock Show online at victorialivestockshow.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/VLS_2021_COVID_SCHEDULE.pdf.