Wednesday, April 17, 2024

SHS senior’s hard work pays off with San Angelo Stock Show win

Teacher calls Pack ‘one of the hardest working kids in the barn’

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SPRINGTOWN — Despite her young age, Springtown High School senior Molly Pack is an old pro at showing livestock, but each time she gets in the ring, it feels like a new experience.

“Every time I go in, it's like an adrenaline rush, like you just get in your own world,” said Pack, who is also vice president of Springtown FFA. “Watching from outside the ring, you can see all these other things going on, and every kid in the ring is just focused on them and their animal and the judge. It's like nothing else is going on. But every time I go in the ring, it's like for the first time again. It's so exciting and rewarding.”

Even if the results don’t turn out well, Pack said the mere feat of getting an animal ready for a show and being able to walk it in the ring is an accomplishment.

This year, Pack experienced an additional adrenaline rush when she won reserve grand champion for her female Brangus at the San Angelo Stock Show. When the results were announced, she thought, “Wow, all that hard work has finally paid off.”

San Angelo is a major livestock show in Texas, and like Pack, agriculture teacher/cattle supervisor Roy Stephens said just getting in the ring is an achievement.

“Just even to walk in that ring is an accomplishment with that animal, but to place in the top half or even the top 30 of your class is a big accomplishment, and then to get champion or reserve is an exceptional opportunity to showcase your hard work and an animal,” Stephens said. “It's a big deal to place in a major like that, whether it's reserve or grand champion. It’s a huge deal. A lot of kids will show their whole career and never even get that opportunity.”

Pack has been showing livestock, mainly cows, since she was in the third grade. She got into the activity with her older sister via their extended family’s Brangus cattle ranch. She and her sister even pulled in a joint win in 2017 when Pack won grand champion and her sister took home the reserve title.

“That was pretty cool,” Pack said about the previous achievement.

Pack described raising cattle and getting to know each cow’s personality as a rewarding experience.

“Me and my sister had 10-15 heifers at a time, and people always ask, ‘They're all black; how do you tell them apart?’ I mean, you spend time with the animal every day, so you get to know the animal,” she said.

Pack wasn’t sure how her Brangus cow, named “PP Miss Raquelle,” would fare in the San Angelo competition as she had ups and downs with the animal in previous shows. She said Miss Raquelle is a sassy cow and a picky eater who took some time to warm up to Pack.

“It's kind of funny now; you can just call her name, and she'll come up to the barn,” Pack said.

Raising a cow takes time and dedication, as with any animal, but cows also tend to need more space and feed that can be more expensive, Stephens said. 

Stephens has known Pack since she was in the seventh grade and has observed how she has navigated the highs and lows of livestock competitions with good sportsmanship.

“She's always handled it with grace and professionalism,” Stephens said. “You could obviously see some disappointment when she didn't place as well as she wanted to, but she never got mad about it. It just kind of motivated her and made her more driven to be more successful the next time.”

As a leader in Springtown FFA, Stephens said Pack is always willing to help the younger members of the chapter and sets a good example.

“(She’s) probably one of the hardest working kids in the barn that I've ever seen, and I don't think anybody would argue with that fact,” he said. “You don't have to tell her to do anything. She's going to lead by example, and I think when other younger members see that, they pick up on that really quickly, and see that's what it takes to be successful in the show ring and be successful in this chapter.”

After graduation, Pack wants to advance her education and possibly pursue a career in artificial insemination and sonography involving cows and other large animals.