• Kale Steed

Alternative show brings light during odd times

Fans pack the South Plains Fair Grounds in Lubbock on Tuesday for the “The Alternative Show”. The show was originally scheduled as part of the Houston Live Stock Show and Rodeo that was cancelled last week. [Provided photo]

It was a whirlwind to say the least for Future Farmers of America, 4-H students, educators and volunteers across Texas over the past week.

The annual Houston Live Stock Show and Rodeo, one of the state’s bigger events, was set to start at the NRG Arena, only for everyone involved to receive the news that the show was cancelled last Wednesday, announced by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner due to coronavirus concerns.

The news was crushing but in no way did it stop these students from showing their pigs to to make sure the hard work started in September didn’t go waste.

Immediately, educators and volunteers involved started looking for another venue to have the show last Wednesday afternoon.

“We tried to Austin and got cancelled and then got cancelled in Fort Worth, said Robbie Harkey of Texas Pork Producers, and a volunteer from Plainview. “A lot of credit goes to Will Winter and Jason Lackey. Those two guys came up with the idea and made it happen for us to show at the South Plains Fair Grounds in Lubbock. We didn’t want seniors not be able to show.

Why folks were driving across the huge state of Texas looking for a venue, Winter, the owner of Wintex Farms in Idalou, and Lackey, who owns Lackey Livestock in Haskell, secured the fair grounds in Lubbock this past Tuesday.

“We had spent the weekend going to Tahoka, Frenship, Littlefield and Levelland loading up 400 pens, and built them at South Plains Fair Ground,” Stratford Agriculture teacher Kaleb Horsford said. We got it all set up and ready to go with City of Lubbock concerned on big gatherings we knew our window wasn’t going to be open long.”

The show was deemed “The Alternative Show”, since it wasn’t on the green chips of the NRG Arena.

The students started showing at 3 p.m. Tuesday, and with a tight window, the event went on for 18 hours straight, wrapping up at 9 a.m. Wednesday morning. An incredible job by everyone involved to let these students reap the payoff of a year’s worth of hard work.

Spearman’s Jackson Riggins, middle, won Reserved Grand Champion at Tuesday’s Alternative Show in Lubbock. [Photo cred:]

The effort was definitely noticed by the students, including Spearman senior Jackson Riggins. Riggins has been showing pigs since seventh grade and has never seen anything like what he saw over the last 7 days.

“It was a crazy week,” said Spearman senior Jackson Riggins, who won as a Reserved Grand Champion, showing a hampshire pig. “It’s my senior year and I knew the pig I had was special. We were on our way to Houston. We were about 50 miles south of Decatur and cancelled. It was was to hear, then we were fortunate for those who set up the Alternative Show.

“There was a lot of pressure to go through with it. It turned into an all night event. It was crazy and the amount of energy was unreal. Everyone was just excited to be showing. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity.“

The past week has been a trying time for the stock show industry. It has also brought to light the incredible future that it’s going to have. Without the unwavering dedication to the youth of Texas that Winter and Lackey, along with countless others did this week it, the show would’ve ended in disaster rather than a unforgettable moment.

If anyone wants to help support to “The Alternative” show fund pleases follow the link.

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