Teens scramble for awards

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Since the opening of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo March 7, Kilgore FFA, Sabine FFA and Overton FFA have all guaranteed their return to NRG Park.

Overton had four students and Kilgore and Sabine each have had one student catch calves during the rodeo’s nightly calf scramble competition in which 30 Texas high school students are sent to catch one of 15 calves, halter the animal and guide it into the center of the arena.

Overton High School students Brady Brown and Justin Gomez were the first to come away with a calf during the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo opening night calf scramble March 7. Classmates Caleb Floyd and Cole Marshall followed up with catches of their own March 9.

Then, Kilgore High School student Kace Murphy started off his spring break with a calf scramble win by collecting one of the 15 calves running wild around the NRG Stadium arena.

Kayden Perry, of Sabine FFA, notched a catch for her club March 16.

The rodeo and calf scramble will continue through March 26.

The students who catch a calf any of the 20 nights of RodeoHouston do not keep that particular calf. Rather, they receive $1,750 from a sponsor with which they then use to purchase a market steer or a registered beef heifer to show the next year in Houston. The students then receive a $250 bonus the following year as an exhibitor if they meet each of the requirements throughout the year between the calf scramble and exhibiting.

In total, the official RodeoHouston website states the Calf Scramble Program, which began in 1942, has awarded about $11.7 million in certificates and prizes to more than 21,000 students.

Kenneth Allison and Craig Ballew, both of whom caught calves during last year’s RodeoHouston for Overton FFA, returned to show their beef heifer in the American category.

The calf scramble winners returning to Houston with a steer will be judged later in the week.

Ag Mechanics students also will participate in the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo competition during the last weekend, where the projects are only judged and not sold.

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