Four years ago, Angelica Lopez and her family moved from the bustling metropolis Dallas, TX to the much quieter town of Poetry, TX. Now 16 years old, Angelica remembers fondly the day she was introduced to the FFA. “Some FFA officers visited our middle school and it seemed interesting. I was really intrigued with the idea of caring for a farm animal.”
You’d think a young girl from Dallas would start small, but not Ms. Lopez. “My ag teacher asked me to research longhorns, and I just thought they were so beautiful. She knew a breeder, Fred Wood of Two Moon Ranch, who would let me lease one, and that’s we did. This is my second year showing my longhorn.”
Luckily, Angelica had a great support system to help her. “My ag teacher, Mrs. Watson, showed me how to raise show animals. I’m still learning from her. I also made friends in the barn and they helped me understand the process. They really helped me learn patience, because it takes time to teach animals to show. My dad helped me every day to break him and my mom helped with cleaning his stall while I practiced. My grandparents and siblings come to my shows and they tell me how proud they are of me.”
Even with all that help, longhorns are a daunting animal for anyone. Angelica explains “As soon as my longhorn arrived I was told to just be in the stall for 14 days and give him time to feel comfortable with me. Then I would feed him every day, starting with Hi-Pro 288, and finishing off with 290. We love the feed because it’s affordable and my steer loves to eat it. He looks really muscular and beautiful on that feed.”
In addition to her nutrition program, Angelica put a lot of work into exercise and haltering. “We would walk for 30 minutes a day.” She says “The most challenging experience was breaking him. Having to control and show a 500-pound steer how to walk and get in position was hard.”
However, Angelica’s gentle touch not only earned her Breed Champion at the West Texas Fair & Rodeo, but also a friend for life. “My favorite part of raising him is the bond we have. He knows I’m his caretaker and he shows me his love every day with kisses.”
That bond helped carry Angelica and her longhorn through the nerves of showing and into the winner’s circle “It was so amazing to win! I felt like crying because I’ve worked so hard and I was happy that someone finally acknowledged my hard work and how beautiful my steer is.”
The experience has also taught Angelica the value of agriculture and the FFA. She ran for and earned the position of FFA Chaplain, and hopes to continue to show even through college.
Hi-Pro Feeds is proud to support the enterprising and hard-working youth of agriculture. For more information on our Show Feeds, click here.