East Texas Ag News: Lauren Boulware shows heifer at the Angelina County Fair
LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - Friday afternoon, March 25 at 2 p.m. is showtime for heifers at the Angelina County Fair held in the George H Henderson Exposition Center in Lufkin. For Lauren Boulware, it will be her last time to compete in the county fair.
Lauren is a senior at Central High School and active in Central FFA. She is the 17-year-old daughter of Brandon and Mamie Boulware and has three siblings, Addison, 14, Garrett, 11, and Geordon, 11.
She is highly involved in her school activities and organizations and is currently raising a heifer, Magnolia. She is also President of the Central National Honor Society Chapter, Senior Representative for Central KYSSED, a varsity baseball manager, and a member of Drug-Free All-Stars through Angelina County. Reflecting on all her activities, Lauren states, “I truly enjoy what I am involved in and wouldn’t have it any other way.”
When asked what got her started in the Fair, Lauren says, “My parents and grandparents were involved in their local county fairs when they were younger, and I thought to myself, why not just keep the tradition going.” She continues, “I was never really involved in anything when I was younger, and it sparked my interest when my parents asked me if I wanted to show rabbits. I have now shown rabbits, goats, and heifers. I have enjoyed every minute of my experience.”
The beef heifer show is sponsored by Polk Land & Cattle. Heifers are divided into classes by breed, then further divided by age. Heifers are judged first on their ability to calve and raise calves. As such, they will be judged on body conformation, skeletal structure, and muscling, all of which are highly heritable traits to their offspring.
Raising cattle for competition is a daily effort, with feed consumption and health at the forefront. The Angelina County Fair allows exhibitors to show heifers that are 30 months of age, or younger, on the day of the show. Unlike most other divisions in the county fair, there is no limit to the number of heifers that may be entered by the exhibitor.
Registered breeds will show in their own breed division and any unregistered animal will show in the “All Other Breeds” class. Classes for the beef breeding show will be broken down into three age divisions: under one year old, one to two years, and over two years of age. Heifers in a class will be lined up according to age youngest to oldest as they enter the arena.
Breed divisions are in three major groups: English, Exotic or American divisions. English (or sometimes called British) breeds include Angus, Hereford, and Shorthorn. Exotics will be the European continental breeds such as Limousin, Charolais, Chianina, Simmental, or others. American breeds are cattle breeds from crosses developed in the US such as Brangus, Braford, Santa Gertrudis, and more.
Lauren says her favorite part of the fair is the environment. “I don’t have to worry about getting work done. I feel like the world has been lifted off my shoulders and I can just focus on my FFA projects. I love being around family and friends and doing what I love to do. Everyone has prepared for months to have 15 minutes in a show ring.”
“The hardest part of the fair is the day of your specific show.” Lauren continues, “You are in a timed schedule, and you have so much to do in so little time, at least for beef heifers. Getting their hair ready is a work of art because you have to pay attention to the little details.”
Her mom, Mamie Boulware, says, “this being Lauren’s last year to participate at the county fair, I hope that she enjoys every single minute and not take this experience for granted. Being involved with animals and being an exhibitor has taught her so many life lessons and responsibilities that not even parents can teach their children.”
Thinking of others, Lauren hopes hope that others will learn the little things about showing. “Not just how to take care or show your animals, but to learn that it’s ok to help other people with their animals, even when you don’t know them. There are people out there who are first-time showers who need more help than ones who have been doing it their whole life. I know when I first started showing, I really appreciated people who I didn’t even know helping do the simple things like helping me wash or simply letting me use their water hose to wash my heifer.”
Lauren’s biggest goal this year is, “to just enjoy my last time participating in the fair. I don’t care if I don’t win or if I lose. I know I won’t ever have this opportunity again to do what I love. I have enjoyed my time in FFA and my experience with the Angelina County Fair. I will definitely miss it.”
After graduation, Lauren will be attending Texas A&M in the fall to major in Psychology and minor in Animal Science. Her mom sums it up, “with the knowledge that she has learned in the cattle industry, this has definitely prepared her for a bright future at A&M.”
For more information about this year’s Fair, go to www.angelinacountyfair.com.
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