Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Winstead, the winner

SHS graduate takes home reserve champion for market lamb at Parker County Stock Show

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SPRINGTOWN — Springtown High School graduate Paige Winstead walked out of the ring at the Parker County Stock Show this year for the last time with the highest title she has ever won.

Winstead earned reserve champion in the show’s market lamb competition as well as medium wool reserve champion. As icing on the cake, she also took home the award for Yorkshire reserve champion in the market swine contest.

This is a result Winstead had hoped for going into the competition and worked hard for.

“It’s very rewarding,” she said. “It's something that we've been waiting for, for a long time to happen. It finally did. It’s just very exciting.”

This year hasn’t been easy for Winstead. As a senior, she had a lot on her mind and her schedule, but she learned to hold herself accountable for her animal projects and work with them in the barn even when she didn’t want to.

“I had a bunch of stuff going on, so my mindset was just all over the place,” Winstead said. “I had to get told that I really need to be in the barn with my animals if we want a successful year. So that's when I started changing my mindset and wanting to do better and work my sheep every day. Even if I really didn't want to, I needed to.”

But Winstead wasn’t alone in training and caring for her animals. She credited her father for lending a hand when she couldn’t be in the barn herself.

“Most people don't have a dad like I do,” she said. “It's very helpful to have someone that is always just there and willing to help you.”

Winstead has been showing livestock at Parker County’s show since she was 7 years old. At first, she worked with pigs but grew tired with how stubborn they could be, so she moved on to the more cooperative lambs.

“With the pig, you have a stick, and you just hit it, and no matter how hard you hit it, they're going to do what they want,” Winstead said. “But with a lamb, you have your hands on them, and you really are in control of the animal, and you know what you want the animal to do.”

However, Winstead’s winning lamb and pig turned out to be the exception to her general rule. She described her reserve champion lamb, named Hourglass because of the way he looked from above, as stubborn and uncooperative while her winning Yorkshire was sweet and easy to work with.

Despite her troubles with Hourglass, the lamb didn’t give Winstead a hard time in the ring on the day of the show. One of her friends initially showed Hourglass while Winstead was showing another animal, and he did not cooperate at all. Once he was back in Winstead’s hands, Hourglass left his fussiness behind.

“He was calm. He did everything that I needed him to do,” she said. “It’s honestly the best I've ever worked with him. He was perfect.”

Now that she has graduated, Winstead doesn’t have any agricultural-related plans moving forward. She expects to attend cosmetology school at Weatherford College so she can work as a haircare professional. The one way she may return to raising livestock is if she someday has children who are interested in it.

The Parker County Stock Show was held after SHS’ graduation, so Winstead could have opted not to show any animals, but she wanted to finish her livestock career where she had started it. She described her final show as bittersweet and remembered the days when her family used to pack into a camper and spend the whole week at the show and rodeo.

“It was very overwhelming,” Winstead said of her final show. “You definitely don't think of that as you're in the ring, but the second you walk out is when it's like, ‘Wow, that's the last time I'm going to go in there.’ It really got me whenever I saw my dad, and he got real sad about it. But I'm just glad that I had the support system that I did to be able to get me through my last show there.”

Winstead’s mother, Cally Winstead, shared how proud she is of her daughter, not just for her performance at Parker County but her success throughout show season. Being involved with FFA and livestock raising has taught her kids to be humble and respectful, among other life lessons, and Cally Winstead was happy to have raised her children in that environment.

“You can't ask for a better community of people to be around,” Cally Winstead said. “It was very good for them, I think, growing up in that.”