History repeated itsself Friday afternoon at the Ellis County Expo center as a pair of Waxahachie students walked away with the top heifer awards during on the final day of the 2014 Ellis County Youth Expo.
Jake Johnson, a WHS junior, won the grand championship with his Brangus.
Winning the reserve grand champion was Brayden DeBorde of Ellis County 4-H with a polled Hereford. De Borde is a student at Waxahachie Preparatory Academy.
The two competed with showman in 36 classes showing 43 heifers. Often there was only one entry in a class making it easy for judge Ryan Rash. Other classes had several that Rash told the audience were close and are contenders of the top of their breed.
Working down through the classes and breeds, Rash was faced with selecting the top of each class.
Rash finally had to work though the final drive to determine the top two show heifers. Working through the best of the American, British and European entries, Rash made his final choice, selecting the Brangus shown by Johnson for first and the Hereford of DeBorde’s for Reserve.
“This is a big relief. I’ve been working towards this moment for several months,” Johnson said
Next he will be showing at the state and national shows of the junior Brangus Association.
Johnson is a member of the Waxahachie FFA. He began showing in 2005.
Since beginning his show career, he has won Reserve breed champion at the Fort Worth show, won at the Houston show and twice a winner at the San Antonio show.
“Besides winning, I like being at these shows, spending time my friends and meeting new friends that I see again at other shows,” Johnson said.
DeBorde’s show style and his Hereford both wowed Rash. Following the Heifer drive, DeBorde also won the Junior Showmanship belt buckle.
Besides the reserve and junior showman awards, DeBorde also took reserve breed awards with Maintainer, polled Hereford breeds as well as receiving the grand champion banner for his angus.
DeBorde has already seen success in the show ring and seeing cattle from his cattle company in some of the state’s top shows. The youthful entrepreneur hails from Bardwell where his family’s cattle business is and where he bases his own business, BCD Cattle Company.
Personally, he has won the breed championship with a Hereford at the Austin show and Reserve Hereford at the Texas State Fair.
As soon as the showmanship competition was finished, DeBorde had to immediately leave for a talent show where he performed on his fiddle.
And when not preparing his show cattle, he is a very accomplished musician, according to his father Eric DeBorde.
Not all the action was in the show ring. Many of the competitors in both the heifer and steer groups were busy with their final grooming, working on their showmanship skills or just trying to calm their animals down.
The heifer drive came to a close with the final showmanship competition. The senior showmanship banner went to B.J. Conn of Ennis FFA.
This is Rash’s second year to judge both the Heifer and Steer shows. Rash is the executive Director of the Texas junior Livestock Association and Co-Editor of Show Box Magazine.
He has judged in 17 states and in Canada and Mexico. He was on the 1999 Intercollegiate Livestock Judging Team from Texas A&M.
Rash is from Crockett, Texas and has a master of science in farm Science from Texas A&M.
“These shows are as good as they get. Many of the animals I’ve seen here today, I’d put up against any I’ve seen in all the states I’ve judged in. The quality is a testament to the hard work and dedication these young people have given to their animal,” Rash said.
Rash also was very complementary of the youthful exhibitors. “These are some of the best showman I’ve seen. They are very courteous and supporting to each other while still maintaining their competitive edge. They are truly an example to set the standard to,” Rash said.