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Showing livestock can be stepping stone to future success

A definite roadmap to the future and a plan for how to get there: that's what livestock exhibitors seem to have in common by their high school years.

Elgin High School senior Dacie Bridges, for instance, has decided to become a registered nurse like her mother once was, but with a twist. She wants to work in an emergency room so she would be encountering something different all the time.

Dacie's long-range plan is to attend Southwestern Oklahoma State University, Weatherford, and return here to pursue her nursing career while raising cattle on the side. She is the 18-year-old daughter of Jason and Melissa Bridges and a member of Elgin FFA.

Friday morning found her busily blow-drying the 1,280-pound market steer her brother calls "Oreo" because the otherwise black Simmental has matching white cuffs on all four legs and a white face. He weighed 800 pounds when Dacie got him, and she's been steadily marking his gains from show to show. She doesn't expect him to win first place at the Oklahoma Youth Expo (OYE), but she definitely plans on showing him there a week from Tuesday.

Dacie was an eighth grader in her first year of FFA when she began showing cattle. She wanted to be involved in something, but she wasn't big on speaking in front of people, so this seemed like a good choice. Her father raises cattle, breeding prize bulls to cows and selling the steers while retaining the heifers for his cow-calf operation.

"Showing has taught me a lot of patience and a lot of determination to just keep getting better at what I do," she said.

William Hasenbeck is a 17-year-old junior at Elgin High, and he's already looking to become a doctor in sports medicine.

"I don't play football, but I'd like to be a doctor who takes care of a team," he said.

He's already showing his willingness to work hard. He was at the Expo Building at 5:30 a.m. Thursday, washing, drying and feeding his show animals to get them ready, then mucking his stalls.

This year he has two heifers, an Angus and a %Simmental. The latter is a breed made up of cattle containing a percentage of Simmental blood  in his heifer's case, a very low percentage.

So far he's taken both heifers to a show in Stillwater and the Southwest District Livestock Show in Chickasha, where the judge deemed his Angus worthy of being named grand champion.

William is the son of Dr. Hank and Toni Hasenback. His older sister, Vivienne, has graduated from showing livestock and is now a junior studying animal science at Oklahoma State University. He also has a younger sister, 10-year-old Henlea, who's showing cattle for the first time this year. She brought two heifers, a Chianina and an Angus, to the Comanche County Livestock Show on Thursday.

Elgin Middle School seventh grader Tommy Glover is 13 and displaying a 730-pound Crossbred steer at the Saddle & Sirloin Club's beef show this year. This particular animal is six months old and not yet ready for OYE, so he'll be taking a Crossbred Chianina market steer to that the week after next.

Tommy has been showing cattle ever since he was 6 years old and has enjoyed great success. Last June his Crossbred market steer was named reserve grand champion at the National Western Show in Denver. He is the son of Dustin and Jamie Glover of Elgin. His sister, Taylor Glover, is in fourth grade at Elgin Elementary School and she brought two animals to the show on Thursday. As you can see from the standings below, their prospect steers did quite well. Tommy's Crossbreed won grand champion, and Taylor's Maine-Anjou reserve grand.

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