SaleRing.Live GRIT Award Winners

We wanted to reward the hard work, dedication, courage and GRIT of junior livestock enthusiasts from around the country and these NINE kids are extremely deserving of recognition.

“Tessa was diagnosed with a rare form of muscular dystrophy when she was a young girl. She always wanted to show cattle and when she was 14 her family decided to get her a Longhorn heifer thinking it would be one year project. Tessa worked hard everyday feeding and taking care of her heifer. With the help of her dad she halter broke the heifer and got her ready for the show ring. Year one went really well and she decided to stick with it for the next tree years of high school. Tessa was awarded numerous awards through the Longhorn organizations. A couple of the awards were the newcomers award from The Source Longhorn scholarship show and a senior scholarship for involvement and highest grade point from the South Texas Longhorn Association. On top of taking care of her cattle everyday she was an athletic trainer for the high school football team and maintained an A average for all four years of high school. Tessa was selected to be a State Livestock Ambassador her Junior year of high school and her senior year she was selected to attend the state livestock leadership trip where they travel to for states visiting livestock operations and learning about leadership. Tessa decided to attend Oklahoma State University this fall and was recently awarded early admittance to the veterinary program at OSU. She exemplifies good leadership and she is always willing to help others. She has helped many younger friends come out of their shell and has encouraged them to become more involved in programs like FFA and the Livestock Ambassadors program.”

“Ethan is a wonderful young man who exemplifies hard work and overcoming physical odds. He and his family have shown cattle, goats, hogs, and sheep, but Ethan’s passion is showing cattle. Ethan was born with a hearing impairment, but that has never slowed him down. Ethan is a worker in the barn at home and works from sunup to sundown at a show. He is self-disciplined in learning from cattle fitters to gain knowledge and pointers in show cattle preparations. Ethan is friendly with all his cattle friends, but rather than running around the barn socializing, Ethan is watching, observing, and building his skills. Recently Ethan and his father were at a show helping my daughter with her cattle preparation. There was an opportunity for Ethan to borrow my daughter’s heifer and participate in showmanship. Many kids would have been nervous to show someone else’s animal but not Ethan. He strolled into the ring with all the confidence in the world, showed the heifer to her full potential, and was selected champion showman in his division. He was calm, collected, and confident in the event, and we could see a slight hint of a smile at the end. Ethan does a lot of observing, learning, and studying, which will take him far in life. “Grit” will define who Ethan is, not a hearing impairment. ”

“She loves to fit on her cattle and goats and she loves to get in the ring and show them. Each year she works hard with a lot less than most and she has always improved every time. Every time she goes in the ring she comes out with more knowledge than when she walked in. She knows how to battle through adversity and pain. She showed all last summer, unbeknownst to us, with a 4.5cm tumor on her brain stem that cause horrible headaches and migraines. Once it was found, the two things she was concerned about was school and her animals. She argued/begged with the doctors to let her work with her cattle so she didn’t get behind with them while on restrictions. She came out on top of that. She fits on calves with three of her friends and never complains if her animals come last. She has learned to do the best with what she has. She understands the power of teamwork and what can be accomplished with it. She loves this life and yet still makes straight A’s in school that’s all self paced. She will graduate high school with a two year college degree. There isn’t anything that can stop her.”

“Just recently, the soil hadn’t dried from the storms that ravaged KY and Caleb was planning to help the hurting farmers in Kentucky. He put a plan together, collected $10,000 worth of fencing and feeding supplies and delivered them yesterday to Mayfield, about 400 miles round trip. He pulled the trailer he borrowed, with his own truck and paid for the fuel himself all on his second day of Christmas break. He is planning to make a second trip with supplies soon. He also leads by going out of his way to help other young people showing. It doesn’t matter if it is in the show ring or the fitting stall, he is always willing to give of himself to aid these young people. Finally, Caleb is very passionate about auctioneering and completed the coursework through Missouri School of Auctioneering and secured his certificate this past June by passing their exam the day after he turned 18. He has since committed to serve as a ringman in two national Angus sales this spring.”

“My son Mason has Down syndrome and last summer while entering a Leggett Livestock show camp, Mason decided to enter the fitting contest. I tried to persuade him to just watch the beginner demonstration, but he was determined to compete. So when it came time to pair up teams, Laura and Mason were a team. I apologized to her, knowing she was going to likely do 98% of the work and try to keep him in their workspace. She just smiled and said, “Oh we will be fine.” Once it began, she had him working and he was having a blast. He kept looking to me and would say, “See Dad” and give me a thumbs up. She kept reminding him they had to work hard to win, and would find him another task to keep him engaged. It definitely was way more work on her part, however she stayed positive throughout the competition and showed her true leadership skills keeping him involved and engaged. When it was all said and done, they were awarded Champion Fitting Team. Most kids wouldn’t have been able to adjust and keep him focused but she handled it with ease.”

“You wouldn’t know it by looking at him, but Mason was born with a heart defect and has been through 3 open heart surgeries so far. Despite this, Mason continues to be a hard working young man who is willing to drop everything & lend a hand whenever needed. He always congratulates his fellow showmen and I have never heard him say a bad word about anyone. Furthermore, Mason is an exemplary student and exceptionally bright. He is also a talented soccer player for both his school and town. I applaud him for being able to juggle school work, soccer, and 3 livestock species! You’ll be hard pressed to find a more amazing, caring, and bright young man then Mason Hay. He’s truly a stand up type of kid and I’m thankful that my children have someone like him to look up to and learn from. One other example that also shows Mason’s true determination and “grit” takes place a month after his third open heart surgery. Wanting to get out of his house & knowing I needed the help, Mason offered to assist in vaccinating four litters of pigs. After ensuring it was safe, I welcomed Mason into my nursery barn a month after he went through a major surgery, so he could help me get my Showpigs vaccinated.”

“Ray is a child that was not raised in or around livestock. He was first exposed in 4H at 10 with a feeder calf. He since has devoted his days to cattle and the industry. Ray has set many examples. He fosters Juniors in the county and has, for the past 3 years, offered a scholarship to first time Beef showmen. He also will help youth at every level allowing kids to experience things they never thought they could ie: just in November he loaned a couple calves out to youth, worked with them on showmanship, provided the transportation and all supplies in order for them to participate in their first jackpot show. He has educational clinics at the house to teach others, no just youth – adults too, about the industry. He also speaks openly to other children that have been through parents divorcing and the real life difficulty showing can be. This year he has sold two heifers in the county and told me he won’t compete against animals that he has sold, so he will be showing a new species at the fair. If anyone ever needs help he is right there to chip in to set up stalls, run a top line or honestly whatever is needed. He has won in Ohio Best program a character trait awards and by far meant more to him than I can even put into words. Ray serves on the Ohio Maine and Chi Jr Board and the American Chianina Jr Board is a member of the FFA and 4H.”

“Raised a horse girl now a livestock enthusiast, Quinna has the grit and determination to follow through with any goals she sets forth. Not only does Quinna excel in the classroom, but she has paved her own path for success in the judging world and show ring. Most recently she was a member of the Champion Team and 2nd Overall Individual at the 2021 American Royal 4-H Judging Contest winning reasons and a member of the 2021 Reserve National Champion 4-H Livestock Judging Team and Reserve National Horse Judging Team. She also had the Champion Purebred Breeding Gilt at the 2021 Virginia State Fair. Although all of these achievements are incredible she didn’t get there without a lot of persistence, tenacity, and hard work. Quinna is no doubt talented, but more so her effort and work ethic are quite impressive. When I first met her a few years ago she was a quiet and shy young individual, but I noticed there was something different about her. She was one who would work tirelessly to be at the top. While most people would rather spend time with friends or do teenager things, Quinna works multiple jobs, juggles schoolwork, now college classes and can be found in the barn doing chores well after most kids are in bed. Although Quinna’s family is supportive of her and have always pushed her to do her best, she does everything on her own. She is the mastermind behind selecting and feeding her animals and she even raised some of her own pigs. When it comes to judging she enters all of the online virtual contests, attends camps across the US and even created her own YouTube channel to upload her reasons. Quinna, like most livestock kids, is competitive but to me she champions an extra competitive spirit while still being humble and always willing to help others. She recently completed an internship at the National Western manning the yards during the night shift. Definitely not the most glamorous position but just another example of how determined she is to grow in this industry.”

“Her family shares a diverse background of horses and swine, but she has chosen to include goats into the mix. While her family is not flush with funds she makes the best of what they can afford. As an only child she does the majority of the work and has to plan and coordinate her time around three species of livestock, school, band, basketball, and FFA. She loves to help and share with others her knowledge and skills and any time given the opportunity to teach or guide others there are no limits to her contributions. This past summer Bayli had an unfortunate accident on her 3 year old barrel horse that she is training. She suffered injuries to her back. She did not let that slow her down. She continued to work her other species and push forward. Our county fair was extremely hot and swine showmanship was in the heat of the afternoon. Following her initial qualifying drive, in which she was selected back to the finals, she passed out from heat exhaustion. With the help of nurses/other mothers she was able to cool out and return to the ring for her age division finals. It was a grueling battle in the July heat but her GRIT and determination allowed her to prevail and win her showmanship division. That is the type of fortitude and determination this program should exemplify.”