Saving money for college is an obstacle most parents face, but Shaelynn Davies who shows pigs through Shallowater 4-H just gave her parents a big head start in the form of a San Antonio Livestock Show and Rodeo scholarship she earned with her own sweat and a little elbow grease.
"For Ft. Worth I got second. San Antonio I also got second in my class, and then I got reserve division and I got an $8,000 scholarship," Davies said. "I have honestly never even thought about it being possible. It was a huge surprise."
Only three years into her 4-H activities, Shaelynn has already learned how to pick out and compare her own livestock before she heads to the show ring.
"I livestock judge, so we kind of look for which one has got big muscle, which one is sound, there's a lot of different qualities that we look for," Davies said. "I started 4-H about 3 years ago when I moved to Lubbock. We have about 12 pigs. We start out with about that many and then we kind of sort them out as we go. We have many different kinds. Right now for my Houston, I have a duroc, and then the other two are hamps. Most of them are crosses and hamps."
But that road to earning her scholarship money wasn't necessarily an easy one. Shaelynn knows how it feels to lose, too. And that's what she said keeps her coming out to the barn day after day even when it's freezing outside.
"Last year wasn't a very good year, and then the first year I also got third at Ft. Worth and then the other shows I didn't do as good," Davies said. "The biggest component I think is whenever each day, no matter what the weather is, if it's windy or if it's almost snowing, we come out here and we walk every day. And it's pretty hard. Not many people can say that they come out there in that weather and that they do it. But we come out here and we work our tail off and we clean and we walk, and it really pays off in the arena."
And she plans to put that scholarship money to good use. Shaelynn plans to stay involved in agriculture and keep helping with stock shows long after her 4-H days are over.
"I want to go for an occupational therapist, but then again I might want to go for ag communications, I'm not yet deciding," Davies said. "Whenever I go to college, I am wanting to livestock judge. And I'm eventually wanting to maybe just one time at least judge a stock show. But I think I will at least come home and I'll help out at the livestock shows, but yes, I will most definitely be involved in it."
Congratulations again to Shaelynn Davies, this week's Ag Student of the Week and a member of Shallowater 4-H. If you would like to tell us about a hard working young person that is making a difference in their 4-H club or FFA chapter, please email nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org .