By Megan Whitworth
Walking away with a triple win, Shepherd 4-H President Madison Smith said she was shocked to receive Grand Champion in the Senior Lamb category, Grand Champion in the Senior Lamb Showmanship Category and Grand Champion in the Senior Goat category at the 70th annual San Jacinto County Fair & Rodeo.
“It took a few seconds for it to sink in,” Smith said of winning. “It was overwhelming. It was hard for me to contain my excitement! All of my hard work had paid off.
“The Showmanship award is the most prestigious award,” she added. “It has everything to do with the exhibitor showcasing their animal. I am so honored to receive this award.”
Smith said working and practicing with her animals prepared them both for showing in the ring. She also said the judge said her lamb had more muscle and correct structure verses the other lambs in her category.
A freshman at Shepherd High School, Madison plans on attending Texas A&M University and becoming a vet. She also plans to continue showing lambs, among other animals, at the SJC Fair & Rodeo while she is in high school.
“Showing animals has allowed me to work hard and develop a love for animals,” Smith said. “…I have big dreams!”
Defending her title from last year, Macie Martin received Grand Champion Overall in the Senior Swine show, also placing Grand Champion in the Cross category Wednesday, Sept. 27 at the 2017 San Jacinto County Fair & Rodeo.
“I didn’t expect it,” Martin said of her win. “I was shocked when I did win.
“The person I was showing up against that did; he had been showing since he was a little kid,” she said. “And I was nervous going in against him. But overall, I was shocked when I did win.”
Showing pigs for the second year in a row in the Fair, Martin received her pig in May as piglet, and she started working with her immediately.
“When you’re preparing for it,” she said. “You have to feed it every day, walk it every day, make sure you work with it, make sure it meets the guidelines to bring it up here.”
With her pig weighing in at 280, Martin said she had to put the pig on a diet “because she probably could have been a 350-pound pig.”
“She was so fat. I called her the dinosaur pig; she’s just big,” Martin said with a chuckle. “Overall, she’s a really good pig. She wasn’t a hard pig to have to run with. So, it was nice.”
And that fat pig is what got her first place.
“I really wasn’t expecting an award. I wasn’t expecting to win,” she said. “When I was the only person in the ring with my partner, I was like, ‘Oh, wow. I won.’ I was just shock. … I wasn’t expecting to win two years in a row. I thought it was beginner’s luck type of thing, but I guess not.”
A senior at Coldspring High School and involved with the Coldspring chapter of Future Farmers of America, Martin is planning to attending college either at Texas Tech University or Kilgore College to be a Rangerette. Looking back through her years of being involved in the county fair, Martin said participating in the Fair helped pave her way to college.
“I’ve won Grand Champion twice in the Education Barn, so that’s $8,000 in scholarship money. You get scholarships for just participating the Fair,” she said. “When I sale my pigs tonight, I’ll have more money in the bank from last year to go towards my education for college.”
Martin also ran for Rodeo Queen for the fourth year in a row; even though she didn’t take top place this year, she said that she showed young girl “to never give up even if you won’t win.”
Martin and Smith both encourage students to participate in the Fair.
“For people who have never participated in the fair and want to, don’t give up because you don’t win your first time,” she said. “…Don’t let somebody else intimidate you because they’ve done it longer. Because your clearly going to win if you don’t have intimidation. Keep it up!
“Ask for advice from your 4-H or FFA advisor, find a good feed and exercise program, but most importantly have fun,” Smith said.