The 2020 All-American National Junior Brahman Show took place this week at the Four States Fairgrounds in the rodeo arena.
About 325 contestants, both boys and girls, ranging from 8-18 in age, competed with their Brahman bulls and cows — both red and gray breeds — and $50,000 in scholarship money was at stake to help the contestants pursue their future education.
"This year, things were a bit different, due to COVID-19," said Patricia Collins, rancher, American Brahman Breeder's Board member, as well as a member of the show and youth committees. "Normally, this competition lasts for an entire week. But this year, it was shortened to half a week. Some of the competition and events we normally do during the week took place virtually and had already been settled. But the showcase part, with the contestants and their Brahmans, that took place here at the arena."
The American Brahman Breeders Association began its Brahman showcase competition in 1924. The Junior Association began its youth competition in 1980.
"They began that on the campus of Louisiana State University," said Craig Fontenot, American Brahman Breeders Association president. "Most of these kids are from 4H or Future Farmers of American. Many are from multi-generational farm families and Brahman breeders."
"These kids aren't just future breeders," said Morgan Thomas, director of communications and youth activities. "The same characteristics that make them good at this sort of thing will also make them good community leaders on down the line. It takes passion for the breed, patience to work with them, along with a will to compete. This is about work ethic and dedication."
"Doctors, lawyers, school teachers, community leaders, as well as future farmers and ranchers, that's what you will see these contestants doing," said Fontenot.
Ashtyn Womack of Pittsburg, Texas, readied her Brahman, Sweet Pea, for her coming turn on Friday.
"This is my second year doing this," she said. "I love animals and the competition. I hope to have a Brahman ranch of my own one day."
This week was Sweet Pea's third competition. According to Womack, she is young and can be a bit excitable, though the breed has a reputation for being docile and easy-going.
"I just let her throw her fit when she gets that way," she said. "She is fine after that."
Today will be the final day of the show, which should be wrapped up during the evening.