By Andrea Zagal, Jersey Village HS
JERSEY VILLAGE — It wasn’t for winning first place, but Jersey Village High School sophomore Jose Lopez dropping to a knee and embracing the pig he raised for the CFISD Livestock Show Association Show and Sale showed the excitement, emotion and enjoyment that is part of the event and agricultural education.
Lopez actually placed second in swine’s class three and 24th overall, but his emotional display was among the moments that stood out from the show and sale’s 25th annual rendition Feb. 7-9. Prior to the announcement, Lopez said nervousness filled his body as he stood in the Exhibit Center show ring with his pig – affectionately named Pumbaa. He wanted to show off the dedication he put into his pig, as well as its progress.
Judge Curt Muelstein walked by Lopez once, making his way around the ring and other competitors in the class, and then again. Down to the final entrants, the announcement blared Lopez and Pumbaa placed third.
Filled with excitement and gratitude, Lopez fell to his knees to embrace Pumbaa, thanking his partner on this journey knowing all the long hours of training had come to a success.
“I put a lot of time and effort into this,” Lopez said. “I felt since I signed up for this there was a lot of commitment involved. When I got named [second] place, it felt amazing to have my hard work being rewarded. He was really good that day, and I was proud of him.”
Jersey Village High School sophomore Jose Lopez took an interest in raising animals as a young child and spent weeks raising, caring for and training a pig he named Pumbaa, for the CFISD Livestock Show Association Show and Sale. (Photo by Evelyn Kennedy, Jersey Village HS)
Lopez took an interest in raising animals as a young child, being introduced to it from his grandparents. That stayed with him going into high school where he joined the FFA program at Jersey Village.
This was the first year, however, that Lopez decided to participate in the district’s livestock show and sale.
“I thought it was a good idea to raise an animal, since no one in my family has ever participated in an event like this,” he said. “I took a chance because I like agriculture and the different aspects of raising an animal.”
Well before reaching the show ring, Lopez needed to decide what type of animal he wanted to compete with. Livestock show categories include swine, lamb, goat, poultry, rabbit and steer. After viewing numerous pigs at the Exhibit Center, Lopez found the right one for him.
“My mom helped me pick him out and I had a list of different swine,” Lopez said. “But when it came down to it, I really liked his physical body and when they announced that I could take him, I was ecstatic to take him to the barn.”
After the selection, Lopez spent countless weeks preparing Pumbaa for the show. It included walking him daily and taking him outside to teach him discipline and even a few tricks. Lopez dedicated his time to raise his swine and felt that he and Pumbaa combined their hearts into developing one huge heart to accomplish their goal.
Jersey Village High School sophomore Jose Lopez embraces Pumbaa, a pig he raised, cared for, and trained for the CFISD Livestock Show Association Show and Sale. Lopez placed second in swine’s class three, and emotionally fell to his knees in amazement.
Lopez and Pumbaa accomplished their goal, a sight everyone in attendance at the Exhibit Center could see.
“Throughout the show, the passion and love of the sport showed on the faces of the students as they exhibited their projects,” said Denise Kubecka, career and technical education director in the career and technical education department. “For a student who raises an animal for show, that ribbon acknowledges the dedication it took to make daily trips to the barn to feed, tend to, clean up after and work with their animal.”
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