ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – After months of training and caring for their animals, contestants in the 2022 Taylor County Livestock Show got to see their hard work pay off.

The premiere auction concluded the event for the 2022 year, as all bids were considered donations to the kids, with most of the money being directed towards college funds. No winning bidder took an animal home.

10-year-old Leighton Phillips has been showing pigs since she was in the first grade, something she fell in love with from the very beginning.

KTAB/KRBC: Leighton Phillips, 10, holding up banner at 2022 Taylor County Livestock Show, Jan. 2022

“I love showing pigs because they have an amazing personality,” Phillips said with pride. “I have a few that are like puppies, they just want to play. They’re really sweet. I have some that are just calm, cool and collected… And I love them so much.” 

Each contestant is allowed to sell two animals, but they have to place as champion or reserve champion with their respective animal. Phillips did both, a feat she had accomplished before.

At 10 years of age, she is already planning for the future. Phillips said she will be using the money she earned, and will put it towards future investments.

“I usually save it for college, and some of it goes to feed for next year or years after that,” Phillps detailed.

Allison Stone, 11, won grand champion for her steer at the 2022 Taylor County Livestock Show, using the long days and nights of caring for her steer as motivation.

KTAB/KRBC: Allison Stone, 11, 2022 Taylor County Livestock Show, Jan. 2022

“It teaches you to be responsible, and handle your money well especially,” Stone explained. “Basically it’s a ton of hard work, responsibility and dedication.”

Stone is definitely wise beyond her years, but she’s had an influx of knowledge come from her family. Stone said her mother showed pigs when she was younger, and her father showed both goats and sheep.

In the future, Allison said she wants to continue her work in livestock shows, in efforts to keep the family tradition alive.

“I really want to carry the generation of steers onto everyone in our family,” Stone said.

At their age, the spotlight, cheering audiences and awards can be daunting, but both handled it with great poise. Leighton said winning is definitely something she is proud of, trying to avoid being arrogance, even when she proudly displays her awards on her bedroom wall.

Most importantly, for anyone who has shown livestock, the future looks bright as the next generation has a deep love and respect for agriculture, and all it has to offer.