By Chase Rheam
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Competition between brother and sister is what ultimately led one Stillwater FFA member to begin showing hogs.
Anna Ross, a 17-year-old junior at Stillwater High School, said her two older brothers showed hogs for three years.
“I saw the organization that they were involved in and the people in that organization and I wanted to be involved in the same way that they were, as well,” she said.
Ross, however, wanted to take it one step further.
“It was kind of a sibling rivalry, really,” she said. “Because I’ve always just wanted to one-up them. Something they do, I want to beat them at.”
Five years ago, Ross decided to get involved with Stillwater FFA. In addition to the competitive side of the story, the organization runs in her family.
“My dad began showing whenever his parents started a dairy farm back in the 1970s,” she said.
The first year, because she didn’t meet the deadline, Ross didn’t show her hogs. However, she still took in as much as she could.
“My parents never really just did all my work for me, so as a 12-year-old having to get up when it was snowing and there was eight inches of snow on the ground and snow drifts everywhere, it was really hard for me to get up and go feed or go work with them or carry water out to them because the hose was frozen,” Ross said.
Some aspects were harder than others.
“Whenever they had to test (a hog’s) blood to make sure they didn’t have pseudo rabies, that was very traumatizing for me because I do not handle blood well,” she said. “I can recall almost passing out.”
But eventually the time came for her to begin showing her animal.
“There were ups and downs,” she said. “I learned very quickly that you can’t win everything. Whenever you do win, it’s because of the hard work.”
And Ross’ hard work payed off.
“I’ve made Payne County Premium Sale four years,” she said.
Ross attributes her success to her teacher Scott Schaefer.
“I think Mr. Schaefer, my ag teacher, he’s really helped out a lot whether its giving shots or taking hogs to shows, he’s always there,” she said. “He’s always supporting and cheering me on and I think that’s really important.”
Ross will take part in the Payne County Junior Livestock Show this week by showing her two hogs and a new project — a steer.
“At first, you kind of think I’ve got to feed them in the morning and feed them at night and whenever I have time work with them, but especially with cattle, you have to work with them all the time or else they’ll act up,” she said. “If they don’t know you, they will get very temperamental.”
A typical show day starts at 7 a.m. or earlier when cattle are washed, blow dried and combed, she said.
“Whenever your showtime comes, for me, it’s always stressful because there’s just a hustle and bustle about it,” she said.
But once inside the show ring, the nervousness goes away, she said.
“The thing that I enjoy most about showing are the people I’m around,” Ross said. “It’s a totally different kind of people than at school because we all have that same goal and the same work ethic and we all have been through the struggle.”