Caleb Curl, 13, of Frost FFA, won grand champion of the commercial heifer show, the first leg of the commercial heifer overall prizes.
Unlike a lot of the other animal categories, commercial heifers aren't show-things with smooth coats and stardust on their hooves. They're straight out of the pasture, a bit muddy and certainly not the lady-like, pampered creatures that will be led around the ring in the registered heifer show.
These are future breeding cows, and they're judged accordingly.
The students who show these cattle must keep a record book about the animals, learn about the traits and characteristics that are necessary to breed up a fine herd, and be able to spout that knowledge on command. There's the show, a written test, an interview, and of course, the record books. The final grand champion of commercial heifers will be announced later in the week. Tuesday's prize was based solely on the look of the animals.
The commercial heifers on Tuesday at the Navarro County Youth Expo were judged by Jack Chastain of Mineral Wells, manager and editor of the Texas Hereford Association magazine, and former USDA meat grader. He's also a 1969 graduate of Texas A&M.
He judged the animals based on what he'd like to take home, and he found a lot of pleasing animals in the ring Tuesday morning, he said.
Caleb's father raises cattle, and has a master's in agriculture.
“I just want to follow in his footsteps,” Caleb said.
Caleb also has two pigs he's entered in the Youth Expo, but the commercial heifer show is more nerve-wracking, he said.
“You have to remember a lot of stuff for it,” he said.
There were six classes in the commercial heifer show, based on the breed and age of the animals. Winners in each group were as follows: