Midlothian FFA members swept the competition clear at the Ellis County Youth Expo on Thursday night.
Grand and reserve championship honors for both lamb and goat competitions as well as top junior and senior showmanship awards for both shows went to four FFA youth, all members of Midlothian’s program.
The day of competitions began with the lamb show beginning early in the afternoon. Show judge Jordan Blunt viewed 94 lams in 12 classes before selecting Katelyn Caldwell’s medium wool class winner as the overall grand champion and Dana Davis’ medium wool breed as reserve champion.
This was the first championship win for Katelyn, a ninth grader sat Midlothian Heritage High School and the daughter of Ken and Judi Caldwell. She has shown animals since the fourth grade.
“It’s a great experience. I love the excitement about showing,” Caldwell said.
She attributes her success in the show arena to the support and training from her agriculture teachers.
“I’m shocked to have been at the top of the competition. I can’t believe it,” said reserve champion Davis, following the show.
“Without all the help from my teachers, I would have never made it this far,” she said.
As a Midlothian senior, Davis has been showing for four years. She is the daughter of Brent and Nita Davis of Midlothian.
In the showmanship competition, the senior award went to Christian Harris and the junior award went to Riley Greiten.
“Your showmanship can make or break your competitiveness,” Harris said.
Harris has taken her desire for showmanship to the next level by mentoring three juniors, on of which was Greiten.
“We’ve been working together every week since August to prepare for this day,” Harris said.
Judging for his second year at the Ellis County show, Bount told the audience, “The only word I have to describe this group of showmen is ‘wow.’ They are as good as any showmen I’ve seen.”
Commenting on the Ellis County youth, “The quality of animals is much better than last year. The hard work these kids have put into these animals is really evident. The depth and quality is a nickel’s better, especially in the sheep classes,” Blount said.
The goats wrapped up the evening showing in 17 classes. The grand and reserve champions were determined by placing the top place winners from the lightweight, medium-weight and heavyweight classes in the arena to compete against each other.
This year’s grand champion was Morgan Key with her medium-weight goat. Taking reserve honors was Shaylee Otto showing a heavyweight. Both Key and Otto are from Midlothian FFA.
Otto, an eighth grader at Frank Seale Middle School, has been showing for five years and is the daughter of Michael and Shelly Otto of Midlothian.
Key a junior at Midlothian High School is in her ninth year in FFA showing animals. Key is the daughter of Chris and Tammy Key of Midlothian.
“Showing and working with the animals is what I live for. This is a commitment and responsibility to the animals,” Key said.
The newly named grand champion sees her award as the final results of hard work.
“Winning the grand champion is a relief in one way and the reward to nearly a year of a life of hard work,” Key said.
Key had a successful night in the Expo arena, not only take the grand champion banner and belt buckle but also winning the senior division showmanship award.
Danielle Mason claimed the junior division showmanship award for her goat. She is a fifth grade student at Longbranch Elementary in Midlothian and this was her second year showing.
For the showmanship awards, each animal group is divided up into junior and senior divisions. Juniors are ages 9 to 14 years old, and seniors are 14 to 18 years old.
While the lamb and goat show held the arena, the heifer and steer competitors prepared their animals for Friday’s show.