Houston Livestock Show Cancellation Causes Unexpected Problems for FFA Students

Sophomore+Brooklyn+Gilleland+poses+with+her+goat+for+a+picture.+This+was+before+the+Houston+FFA+Livestock+Show+was+canceled.

Brooklyn Gilleland

Sophomore Brooklyn Gilleland poses with her goat for a picture. This was before the Houston FFA Livestock Show was canceled.

Marlee Sorrells, Staff Writer

The FFA livestock show in Houston on March 11 was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Students from across the state were sent home and lost the opportunity to earn money through the show.

“For our students that raised market animals it was a loss of money for them,” FFA sponsor Stephen Hindman said. “Usually we are able to get the pigs sold down in Houston but since they canceled the show we still have students spending money on feed for their market projects. Students that showed breeding animal projects get to keep their animals and use them in a breeding production program.”

There were around 25 students who went to compete in Houston. The students had been waiting in line for 12 hours to get to the barn when the show was canceled.

“It was very chaotic,” sophomore Brooklyn Gilleland said. “There were people everywhere crying, packing up and putting their animals back on the trailer after 12 hours in a trailer line sitting on the trailers going back home.”

The students who were competing in the earlier parts of the show were able to compete. Most of them weren’t able to compete at all.

“I was able to show my market goat the day that the shutdown happened,” Gilleland said. “That morning my brahman heifer, Punkin, was coming into the barn to be able to show on that Thursday. I was very sad that I didn’t get to show Punkin and was really looking forward to doing well like we did in Fort Worth.”

The process of leaving the Houston grounds was a very long process. The competitors and their animals didn’t leave the grounds until 8 p.m.

“It took a long time to leave Houston,” Hindman said. “When we were finally told we could get our trailer to load up heifers we still had to wait 5 hours before we could load up our animals to come home.”

The students are still able to earn scholarships online. This allows the students who were relying on the show to earn scholarships to still receive some.

“I think it was good to shut down the rodeo but I believe they should have kept the livestock show open,” Gilleland said. “Kids have worked countless hours and put hardwork and dedication into their projects.”