Rachael Van Horn
Woodward, Okla. —
Although it is a bit cooler than normal, it is that time of year again when shorthorn steers and wiggling pigs must endure a bath and some grooming before the annual fall Woodward local livestock show and a week later, the Woodward County Fair.
Thursday morning found 16-year-old Ashton Baggs of Woodward washing, fluffing and clipping her Angus cross prospect steer, getting him ready for the local show on Saturday.
According to Chip Laubach, agriculture instructor for Woodward High School, registration for Saturday’s show is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. at the Woodward County Fairgrounds.
“We will start the show at 9 a.m.,” he said. “And we will start judging with the hogs.”
After the hog division the sheep will show, goats and finally the beef projects will be judged, Laubach said.
Judging for the day will be handled by Sandi Kolbe, the new agriculture instructor for Laverne High School, Laubach said.
Four years ago, it was a Berkshire hog named Eli that changed Ashton Baggs’ life in such a way that, kind of determined where she would be today - four whole years later, she said.
“My parents both showed hogs - neither one showed cattle - but four years ago, they asked me if I wanted to buy a hog and just try out showing,” Baggs said.
That single encounter with Eli the pig was rewarding enough that Baggs not only continued showing and having FFA projects, but moved into cattle as well and is now the Woodward FFA Chapter president.
Thursday, with help from her FFA instructor’s son, Tyler Laubach - a Northwestern student working toward a career in agriculture education - Baggs prepared her prospect steer for Saturday’s show. She feels good, she said, about his chances this weekend.
“I will be showing against the other kids here in Woodward, like my brother (Dalton) so I think he will do OK here,” she said.
But just one week later, the competition will heat up at the Woodward County Fair and then it is on to the Tulsa State Fair in October, she said.
Of the time and effort livestock showing has cost Baggs, she is pragmatic and not at all whiney.
“As the FFA Chapter president, I feel like it is my job to work at it and show others that it really isn’t that difficult to do this and still participate in other things,” she said. “Like, I play softball too.”
But Eli the pig didn’t just chart a course during high school for the plucky 16-year-old. He mapped her future all the way through college.
“I want to attend Oklahoma State University and major in agriculture education,” she said.