Brayden Bryan, 14 years old from Stanton, TX, has been showing since she was in the third grade. “My mom grew up showing livestock and wanted me to try it. I got hooked! I have loved every minute of it.” she says “Goats were my first choice to show and then I thought it would be fun to try something different so I started showing lambs.”
The switch to lambs turned out to be game changer. Brayden and her family met two lamb breeders, Skipper Carlisle of Diamond C Club Lambs and Ricky Sherrill of Sherrill Club Lambs, who took Brayden under their wing and showed her the ins and outs of lambs. “They helped me get a solid group of medium wools to have in my show barn and helped advise me on my feeding and exercise program.” she explains.
Their guidance turned out to be invaluable. “This year definitely passed my expectations. I was grand champion lamb at our county show, received a 4th place at the San Antonio Stock show with my medium wool and then also had a sale qualifier medium wool at the Houston Livestock Show.” Brayden says “Before this year I had never even been pulled with a lamb at a major stock show and then I made the sale twice. It was awesome!”
The winning routine involved lambs purchased from Diamond C Club Lambs of Ropesville, Texas and a nutrition program based around Hi-Pro Show Feeds. “They recommended we start the season off with Hi-Pro Grower 2000 feed that I purchased at HF&C in Lubbock, TX. Brayden explains “We would do monthly check ins and my lambs kept growing great. I was able to feed the Grower 2000 all the way through show season, so I did not have to change feeds at all. I really liked that my animal was able to grow and maintain on the same feed all year and I never had to change feeds.”
Brayden praises the consistency, quality, and freshness of Hi-Pro Feeds. “My feed was always fresh, and my animals always ate it. Before feeding Hi-Pro I had instances where my animals would go off of feed because something was off, and they didn’t like it. This year with Hi-Pro that never happened.”
Even with top-notch guidance, lambs, and feed, the show experience is a unique challenge for anyone. For Brayden, time management was the biggest challenge to overcome. Along with livestock shows, she is the President of the Martin County 4-H club, the Vice-President of her Student Council, a member of the Stanton FFA, and regularly attends the First Methodist Church youth group of Stanton. She also participates in UIL speaking events, tennis and 4-H livestock judging contests. “Sometimes it is hard to juggle all of the after-school activities and the show animals, but I’m lucky to have a family that supports me.” Brayden says “We work out a schedule where I can still be involved in and out of the barn. My mom and dad support me every day. They make sure that my animals and I have every opportunity that we need to be successful.”
In addition to her parents, Brayden has a network of show families that work together at the shows. “We enjoy a little down time, but when its business time we come together and support all of the families in the group to help everyone be successful.” she says.
That extra show support is important to Brayden. “I get very nervous at the shows. Stock showing is my sport. I work very hard to be the best that I can be. Just like kids that play basketball, and they practice being the best that they can be with their team, I do the same thing.” she explains. “When it comes down to show time it’s just me and my animal, we are the team. It all comes down to one person’s opinion on that day, and that makes me very nervous.”
In spite of the nerves, however, Brayden’s favorite moments have been seeing her hard work pay off. “I was blessed with a very successful show season this year. It is not always about the banners and the ribbons but sometimes getting that little bit of recognition makes you think that you are doing something in the right direction.” she says “When I won, I was in shock! I couldn’t believe that I had finally done it and then when the shock wore off, I was so excited.”
Hi-Pro Feeds is proud to support hard working youth in agriculture. For more information on our Show Feeds, click here.