“I’ve basically been showing since I was born!” Ashton Floyd, 18 from Denver City, jokes. She is chatting with us on the phone from, where else, the show barn. “My dad raised cattle, and I was always in the barn ever since I was little.” She started showing her own animals with pigs, then moved up to mini-Herefords. Ashton calls showing steers the “family business”; she is the third generation to show steers in her family. That family knowledge combined with her many years helping dad in the show barn led her to win champion middle weight at Fort Worth and Champion Shorthorn at Houston in her first year showing steers.
“Looking back, honestly we didn’t realize we would get so involved in it.” she says, “We did it because it was fun and then we sort of got addicted and it became life.”
It Takes a Community to Raise a Child…
Showing steers may be the family business, but family to Ashton means more than just blood. “T. Sears, and Cade Lyyski, who helps my family run our cattle operation, and his family helped raise me since I was born.” In addition, Ashton credits Mesa Ware who helps them in her spare time while pursuing a degree at Texas Tech, with teaching her and helping her with her chores in the show barn. “I’ve learned so much over the years in the barn, and not just about livestock.” she says.
Even more special to her is her relationship with show breeders Kevin and Dakota Newman. “They took me under their wing and treated me like their own kid. I’m forever grateful to them”. She says Kevin Newman is “basically my other dad.” And purchased her record breaker, Travis, from Newman and Bonham Show Cattle.
The Winning Steer
What stood out about Travis to her? ”His power and athleticism combined with his unique profile made him easy to find.” She says.
She also mentions his temperament. “The best part about him was his brain. He wanted
to be a show steer.” She and Travis developed a powerful bond with each other. “He was like my emotional support animal, honestly.” she says. “I’d eat my snacks in his pen all summer. He was the best calf ever. Normally the ones that do well have the worst temperament, but not this calf.”
The Winning Routine
“My calves get washed every day.” Ashton explains. “They get fed twice a day. We turn them out at night, and we make sure we walk every one of them.” This includes setting up as many times as necessary to get the calves used to it, and then developing a routine. “These calves are like our kids.”
In addition to the hard work of washing and setting up, her routine involves the top-notch nutrition of Hi-Pro Show Feeds. “My dad has been feeding Hi-Pro since before I was born. The consistency is what I love about the feed, and it grows so much muscle.” She says, “Every calf I’ve ever raised has been on Hi-Pro.”
The New Grand Champion Steer Record – $160,000
“The biggest challenge in showing for me is my nerves.” Ashton says “I have the worst nerves in the world because I really pour my whole heart into it. The hours it takes to feed and take care of the calves and then it all comes down to one moment, and one judge.”
Luckily, she mastered those nerves, not only winning Grand Champion steer but breaking the auction record in the process with a $160,000 price for Travis. Even with her history of winning, San Antonio was special to Ashton. “It’s always been my biggest dream. I instantly started crying!” she says.
Looking to the Future
Floyd graduates, soon, and plans to attend South Plains College and judge livestock for two years before transferring to a larger university to study animal science with a minor in ag business. She has no plans to abandon her home show barn, however. “South Plains is close to home, so I can still break babies and help my sisters with their calves.” She says. Aniston, 15, is her middle sister and is already working on her own show wins for this next year. The youngest sister, at only four, also wants to follow in the “family business”. “We won’t be done showing for a while!” Ashton says, laughing.
“I want to thank everyone that has helped me get to this point,” she says “God, my friends, and my family. I want to inspire people to work hard for their advantages.”
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