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AHHS Competes In Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo

The Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo, currently running through February 8, is well stocked with students representing Fort Worth ISD. The Arlington Heights Future Farmers of America has a strong presence at the legendary annual showcase on the grounds of the Will Rogers Memorial Center.

Nearly 40 students from the Arlington Heights FFA are taking part in the country’s oldest continuously running stock show, which has become a Fort Worth institution. The Arlington Heights FFA is participating for the 16th year. 

The students’ commitment began long before the two-week event.

“When it comes to preparation for the show for some it can be an entire year depending on the project the student has,” Arlington Heights agriscience teacher Linsey Shands said. “The preparation begins with the purchase of a show quality animal that has overall good body conformation. Then the work begins with feeding, exercising and working with the animal to prepare for the show.” 

In the weeks leading up to the Stock Show, the work becomes more intense. Students are fine tuning their showmanship in the ring, as well as monitoring the animal’s feeding and weighing. A few days before showing, students with cattle, sheep and goats will clip or shear their animals according to show requirements. Students showing rabbits and poultry will groom and check weights.

Ag Mechanics students start months in advance preparing their projects to show. They start by deciding design/type of project to build before finding or developing plans. Time in class and after school is used to work on their projects. Along with building the projects, Ag Mech exhibitors must prepare documentation to present at the time of show, including plans, building materials and pictures of all the phases of construction of the project. The projects are presented to show judges.

The Arlington Heights FFA was chartered in 2002 and since then the program has flourished.

Arlington Heights High School offers three Gold Seal Programs of Choice – Livestock Production, Veterinary medical Assistant and Agriculture Mechanics.

“What began as a single teacher department with about 30 students now has five Agriculture Science Teachers and over 450 students enrolled in agriculture classes,” Shands said. “With this boom we have expanded our program from a mainly Animal Science focus to include Ag Mechanics. By adding this to our program, we feel we are introducing a whole new group of students to the world of agriculture and the many facets of the agriculture industry.”

Rundown on Arlington Heights FFA students participating at the Stock Show:

Ag Mech - 5 students

Open & Youth Fancy Poultry – five students

Market Lambs - one student

Market Goats - two students

Market Steers - two students

Beef Heifers - seven students

Open & Youth Breeding Rabbits - 17 students