WAXAHACHIE — Jimmy Davis said he was very impressed with the quality of the animals that entered the ring during the second day of the 28th annual Ellis County Youth Expo, but he was even more impressed with the showmanship exhibited during the many drives of market lamb and goats.
“I love coming down and judging Texas shows. This show is the best I’ve seen in terms of showman and sportsmanship," said Davis, an Oklahoma-based lamb and goat judge. "These kids are great, that’s all there is to it. In the arena, they were courteous to their fellow competitors and me. No matter where I placed their animal, last place or grand champion, each and every one came up and shook my hand and thanked me.
“No matter what club a kid is from, not only were the members of their own club were ready to step up and help, but their fellow exhibitors stepped up, as well, without hesitation. And there was always a handshake ready to the winner from those who placed down in the drive. These kids are great, and that’s the way it should be. There are the best examples of top quality showmanship.”
After two consecutive years of showing a Grand Champion lamb, Katelyn Caldwell decided it was time for a change. This year, the Midlothian Heritage High School junior decided to show a goat — and the move paid off.
As she worked her animal around the same ring as 100 other entries in eleven classes, Caldwell received the final handshake and, for a third time in three years, a title of Grand Champion.
"Goats are a whole lot more stubborn. I’ll be back showing lambs for my senior year,” ribbed Caldwell, who is the daughter of Judi and Ken Caldwell.
The Reserve Grand Champion banner and belt buckle in the championship goat drive also went to a member of the Midlothian Heritage FFA, Hunter Ramsey.
“I’ve been showing since my seventh-grade year,” said Ramsey, a senior at MHHS. “I’ve never made grand or reserve before. It feels good to finish as a reserve for my senior year."
Ramsey is the son of Penny and James Ramsey of Midlothian.
“The goat show was much tougher than the lambs. The quality across the classes was real good,” Davis explained. “These animals could go up against any show that I’ve seen. That includes Houston, San Antonio, or Oklahoma City.”
Goat Showmanship winners included Jr. Showman Abigail Howell of Waxahachie FFA and Senior Showman Raeann Rankin, who represented Ellis County 4-H.
Before the market goat show in the evening, the lamb competition drive started off the afternoon with lambs from light to heavyweight plus several wool classes circling the arena vying first for the top spot in each class. The two top lambs of each class then went on to the championship drive with a chance to be named the Grand or Reserve Champion.
At the end of the drive, Riley Greiten received the nod as the overall Grand Champion in the lamb show.
The Midlothian FFA member said, “This is a real relief. I feel so blessed. Preparing and showing any animal is a great responsibility. Besides being a lot of fun, it has given me respect for my animal and my fellow showman.”
Greiten has participated in shows since the sixth grade and has won a handful of shows over the past three years. She is also the daughter of Jurea and Mike Greuten.
Another Midlothian FFA member, Savannah Whitt, was the Reserve Grand Champion for the lamb drive.
“This is my first big show win and I am so excited. I am so thankful, and I feel so blessed today,” said Whitt, who is the daughter of Mendi and Chris Whitt.
Although she had already won a Grand Championship title in the goat division, Katelyn Caldwell could not stay too far from her beloved lambs. With more than 20 showmanship competitors in the arena, Caldwell was tapped as the best showman in the senior division.
In the junior showman competition, Red Oak FFA member, Audrey Lindley, had the support of many family members and dedicated her show to her father.
“I did this in remembrance of my father, Mike Lindley, who has passed on,” Lindley said.
On the sidelines supporting Lindley were friends and family, which included Carin Smith, Deshawn Jenkins, Paul Fuller and Shannon Fuller.
While the goats and lambs were competing, the swine competitors were busy preparing their animals for Wednesday's show. The swine show started with the peewee show followed by the market swine show. Results were not available by press time.
On Friday, the heifer and steer shows will close out the expo exhibitions. The show finale is the premium sale auction Saturday afternoon.