HOUSTON – April 3, 2019 – Zechariah Rickett, a junior at Dekaney High School, began preparing in May for this year’s Spring Livestock Show and Fair when he purchased Kobe, a small, six-month-old purebred Limousin steer. Now weighing in at a whopping 1,242 pounds, Kobe won the coveted Grand Champion Steer title on Saturday, selling for $5,500 at the 68th annual event’s live auction.
“He might have been big, but he was a baby,” Rickett said about Kobe. “My first time I took him out it took me two hours to get him back in the barn.” That was last May, and now 11 months and three trips a day to the ag barn later, all the time and effort has paid off for Rickett, with Kobe taking top honors in the show ring.
The steer sale marked the culmination of the three-day Livestock show and Fair, which brought hundreds of people out to the Nagy Pavilion in an event designed to showcase student talent through public auctions. This year the show raised $115,365 for a variety of projects, including livestock, arts and crafts, welding and woodworking products, food, horticulture and photography.
Spring Tri-Club president Marsha Cook says the reward for those students involved comes not just during the show and fair but from the months of hard work when they are learning commitment, dedication and responsibility. Raising large animals requires at least two trips a day to the ag barn to make sure they are fed, watered and lodged in a clean, well-kept stall.
Students taking part in the fair are typically involved in FFA, Family Career and Community Leaders of America and Spring 4-H.
Rickett says he would encourage other students to participate in the fair and to start young, if possible. His first year, he received $1,500 for the sale of his hog and he reinvested those proceeds in the following year’s animals. This year, he was able to purchase and raise not only the grand champion steer, but the second place turkey and a hog. With the money he earned this year, he plans to invest in a steer, turkeys, a hog and a goat for next year. Any money left over will go into his college fund.
“Everybody’s support and donations help,” Rickett said.
Averi Bovey, a seventh-grader at Roberson Middle School, is following Rickett advice. Her Blue Spot pig Kelso earned fourth place in his class this year. “When I got him, I saw the potential he had,” said Bovey. “I saw that if I fed him properly and took care of him, I could get him up to class.”
Although raising animals is a lot of work, the really hard part is saying goodbye. “He’s my best friend in the world,” Bovey said. “I’m so thankful for the journey this has brought me.”
Spring ISD Board Trustee Jana Gonzales lauded all the students who participated in the event for their talent and commitment, whether they raised livestock or made handicrafts.
“The students have worked extremely hard,” she said.
The Grand Champion steer, Kobe, was purchased by the Spring ISD Stampede buyers group, which is annually among the top buyers at the fair.
“Once again, the generosity of our employees, community members and business partners on behalf of our students was on display at the fair,” said Spring ISD Superintendent Rodney Watson. “Their generous donations to the Spring ISD Stampede made it possible for us to purchase the Grand Champion steer plus several other student projects, and the proceeds will directly benefit our students.”
Additionally, the Spring Tri-Club, a 501(c)(3) organization that sponsors the event, uses funds raised at the fair to provide graduating seniors with scholarships.