The Future Farmers of America have been sending Alpine students and their livestock to shows across Texas for years, but no one can remember a week like this past one. On March 11 at the Houston Livestock Show, all four students and their five animals from the local chapter placed high enough to get sale slots. Because of the coronavirus scare, though, the sale was canceled.
Shaun Foster, Kylie Maroney, April Watley, and Kaitlyn Wiggins all brought their goats to Houston after qualifying at previous FFA events. They all placed among the top 15, with April’s goat finishing fourth.
Wiggins also brought a medium wool lamb with her that finished 10th in her category. Individuals from Alpine have experienced statewide success like Watley did in 2019. All four competitors returning home with ribbons in hand, however, is a first-time achievement.
Foster presented his Grand Champion Steer at the Big Bend Livestock Association Show back in January. It was purchased by Porter’s grocery store District Manager Trae Dutchover. Wiggins brought the Grand Champion lamb to the Alpine Civic Center event as well.
The FFA is an institution at Alpine High School, with over 30 members among the student body each school year. Doug Fox teaches farm classes at the high school that include several field trips for hands on training. High placements and cash prizes at livestock shows are the results of multi-year commitments from students to their animals.
In normal years, these four students would have more shows to look forward to. But in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the Houston Livestock Show was likely the last FFA event of this school year.