RAYMONDVILLE — A lot of commotion started about mid-day Wednesday as pickups pulling livestock trailers rolled into the Willacy County Livestock Show and Fair grounds delivering potential winning animals.
Animals squealed, bellowed or snorted, iron gates clanged and diesel truck engines rumbled as each animal was unloaded.
Bringing his third show animal of his young career, a Hampshire hog, to the Willacy County show is a big step for Michael Adameit of Santa Monica, now in Lyford Junior FFA and the eighth grade.
He learns more how to care for animals as he goes along, Adameit said.
“I have to spend more time with them,” he said. “I walk them, I touch them, I play with them, I feed them, make sure they have water. I shower them and keep them in a shed,” he said.
If it’s a steer, Michael gets it from the breeder in March, weighing about 400 to 450 pounds, said his mother, Sigrid Adameit. If it’s a hog, it weighs 30 to 50 pounds when he buys it in October, she said.
Michael Adameit showed a steer last year at the Willacy County and Rio Grande Valley livestock shows, he said.
Students and parents tapped on squealing hogs’ hindquarters with show sticks, or patted their sides, to encourage them to move through an opening in steel fencing to get to their pens.
One steer bellowed as a large young man tugged on a heavy rope to persuade the uncooperative beast to back out of a trailer.
“We live in the boondocks, between Santa Monica and Willamar,” Sigrid Adameit said, laughing. “It’s a little town called Porfirio, not a lot of people know about it.”
Michael is firm about his plans.
“I’ll probably be a rancher,” he said. “I’ll have my own place.”
Michael plans to learn welding and building techniques in high school FFA to work on his own fences, equipment and ranch buildings.
“I’m going to college,” Michael said. “I’m going to Texas A&M at College Station and study agriculture.”
Three of Yvette Hernandez’s five children entered animals in the show, she said.
Julian Hernandez, a 10th grader at Raymondville High School, and Victoria Hernandez and Trey Hernandez, both sixth graders, entered hogs.
Two more Hernandezes, Pauline, 8, and Paul 2, accompanied the family.
It’s the second year for Julian, who entered a dark cross hog, he said. He won second place last year with a Duroc.
Victoria entered a cross and Trey entered a Duroc, they said. Victoria and Trey attend Myra Green Middle School.
All three of the older Hernandezes said learning responsibility is a big part of FFA.
“I love the competition and just having a big time,” Julian said. The carnival rides and food are also fun, he said.
But shoveling out the pens isn’t so much fun, he and his siblings agreed.
At home, they have a paint mare named Sissy and a golden retriever who keeps coyotes and other dogs away from the hog pens, Julian said.
When they do their chores, their dad, Guadalupe Hernandez, stands by to make sure they are caring for the animals properly, Julian said.
Richard Garcia’s daughters, Taylor, 7, who attends Lyford Elementary School, and Tiffany, a ninth grader at Raymondville High School, work as a team raising Tiffany’s hog, they said.
This will be the fourth year Taylor has competed in the Pee Wee Showmanship competition, she said as she squirted water into its mouth with an orange bottle.
Tiffany said she wants to have a ranch some day but first she hopes to attend Texas A&M University at College Station to study nursing, she said.