When Hailey Neal steps into the show ring, she knows that she is doing something unique to Jack County. Not unlike other kids, Neal spends her time preparing for the stock show season. Just like the other “show kids” she gets her project cleaned, clipped and ring-ready. Neal is one of the many kids that shows a project animal in the cattle arena, but that is where Neal separates herself from the rest. Neal is the only student from Jack County to show Longhorn cattle.
The Texas Longhorn is a breed of cattle known for its characteristic horns, which can extend to 7 ft tip to tip for steers and exceptional cows, and 36 to 80 in tip to tip for bulls. Yes, that’s seven FEET long. Now, admittedly, the horns on Neal’s beloved “Hank” and “Bowie” are not quite that long, yet they are still a good foot and a half to two feet. Longer than most other cattle. Anyone that has ever worked with cattle know that these “stickers” can certainly be daunting. Not to Neal. With confidence she took to the ring and walked away with a 5th place, with Bowie and a 6th place with Hank. Hank also placed 3rd in the open show.
Neal’s mom, Angie, is pretty proud of her daughter…as well she should be. Not only does Hailey work with these large animals, she spends time away from the show ring as a reporter for the Texas Longhorn Breeders of Tomorrow (TLBT). Not too shabby for an 8th grader.
The one thing she has not accomplished, yet, is getting to show her cattle in the Jack County Youth Fair. Not every county allows for the breed, and Jack County is one that doesn’t. Neal would love to show at the fair, and hopes one day to do just that. In the meantime, she will have to settle for other, less known shows…like the Ft Worth Stock Show, where her winning ways have already been given a good start.
Now, that’s good stuff right there…