— By SALLY SEXTON
Howard Story grew up in a farming atmosphere. In fact, his house is located on a piece of property in Annetta that his parents bought, where Story has resided since 1965.
While farming was a way of life, Story also took interest in the livestock on the property.
“My parents were big into showing horses,” he said. “We even had a reserve grand champion stallion at one point.”
While attending Aledo High School, Story began showing his own stock, albeit a little more feathered than horses.
“In high school, I had chickens,” he said. “I got all of the FFA awards because nobody else was doing chickens.”
Story’s passion for the poultry flourished, and the act of showing birds has become a family tradition for himself, wife Lorri and children, Shyanne, 9, and Houston, 10.
“My wife married into it, and our kids got involved in 4-H,” Story said. “I figured I can’t play with horses or sheep money-wise, but I can play in the chicken arena.”
Since then, showing stock has become a way of life for the Storys, who recently showed a collection of chickens, roosters and ducks at the Fort Worth Stock Show. The competition proved quite favorable for the family, which took 15 birds to show and returned home with one grand champion, seven first place ribbons and four second place ribbons.
The chickens and roosters, which included black copper marans and silver-laced wyandottes, were shown by Story and son Houston, while daughter Shyanne took over the ducks.
“When we first started doing chickens, Shyanne decided that she wanted to do ducks, so we went to Shawnee, Okla., and bought two,” Story said.
Preparing for the stock show is a year-long commitment, something Shyanne and Houston are completely dedicated to.
“They feed, water and clean the pens, and do all the work that goes behind it. The whole year, this is what we’ve been working toward,” Story said. “They come home, take care of the animals, sit down for family dinner and do their schoolwork.”
And the hard work has paid off, with Houston taking home a first place finish and Shyanne winning grand champion junior water fowl with her duck, Aflaq.
“We really learned a lot, especially about the judging, while in Fort Worth,” Story said. “The judges can tell if a bird was from a breeder or a hatchery, and some judges could even narrow down what hatchery the bird came from.”
As the family hobby continues to grow, the Storys have plans to enter into even bigger competition. Their next big showing will be at the Dallas State Fair.
“Stock shows are a really big event for us, and we make sure we go to Fort Worth every year,” Story said. “Going to the state fair is something we haven’t done as a family yet, and this gives [the kids] something to be proud of.”