Danie M. Huffman
A family that shows together stays together.
The Ray family has been showing first prize-winning Jersey heifers for decades in youth livestock shows around north Texas.
The family’s current competitors are Jill Ray, 8; Dylan Ray, 12, and Faith Allen, 10 — all first place winners at this year’s stock show held at the Parker County Sheriff’s Posse grounds.
The trio showed their stock Monday at the Parker County Youth Livestock Show after months of preparing for the competition as members of the Springtown 4-H Club.
Jill Ray worked daily with her heifer, Anna, walking her and getting ready for the show.
Her efforts paid off when she and Anna took Junior Reserve Champion Monday morning.
Linda Ray, the grandmother of the trio, said she remembers when their parents participated in 4-H activities and said the family owns 25 Jerseys.
She said keeping children in 4-H activities keeps them out of trouble and they are rewarded for their achievements.
“It shows them responsibility and it’s fun,” she said. “My grandchildren show with the grandchildren of people we were friends with when my children showed.”
This year’s competition marks the second year Jill has shown in Parker County. She also has showed and placed in the Fort Worth and Lubbock competitions.
Her brother, Dylan, and cousin, Faith, have also placed in the shows and have been showing for three years.
Dylan’s heifer, Connie, and Faith’s prize, Opal, took first place in their division, along with Jill and Anna.
The trio agreed the hard work was worth the effort preparing for the show, but actually competing was the highlight.
“It doesn’t matter if we win or not,” Dylan said. “The show is the best part of it.”
Dylan has also shown and raised crops in previous years, but chose showing heifers as his favorite.
He took the Showmanship title at the 2005 Parker County event and Junior Reserve Champion last year.
Faith took first place at the Fort Worth show last year and said winning was “awesome.”
She said she was excited to place first at this year’s show in Parker County but was happy for her cousin to take the reserve spot.
Robbie Watson judged the division and was brought from Decatur specifically for the show.
Watson complimented all youth who worked diligently for the show and said they produced good stock, making her job easy.
“I’d like everyone here to give them a hand for their hard work,” Watson said.
The siblings look forward to their next competition in Lubbock in September.
Faith is considering joining the pair for the event.
After the show, the siblings and cousin do not plan on selling their heifers. Instead, they chose to turn their prizes out to pasture to enjoy grazing on the simple life.
Junior Champion of the Jersey dairy heifers went to Casey Larison, of Brock FFA.
Danie M. Huffman