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Page 8 Medina Valley Times Thursday, April 4, 2013

Little girl makes big splash in the big show Nine-year-old Devine native takes home top prize, major money in category at Houston Livestock Show Alicia Ramirez Staff Writer The day before Khloe Naegelin was to take to the arena in Houston for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, she woke up with a case of strep throat. Naegelin still managed to show her steer and at the end of the day, she won her breed beating out 60 other competitors at the largest livestock show at only nine years old. The Champagne Cowgirls bought her steer for $40,000, $15,000 of which Naegelin brought home. “When you get to a show, you usually go to where the steers are,” Naegelin said. “It’s kind of harder for me to work around them because I’m so little, but my dad lets me comb them and stuff. Sometimes I get scared because I’m scared they’re going to get loose because I’ve seen some get loose before, but it’s fun showing.” Naegelin’s mom Trisha said that Houston was the first show where Naegelin got nervous about showing her project. It was her biggest show that she had ever done and one where the chances of placing were slim. “I think she understood that this was a little bit of a bigger deal when she won the breed,” Trisha said. “Afterwards she was excited and pretty nervous. The Houston news came up and they put her on the news in Houston and she got to go inside the Reliant Center with her steer the next night, so that was exciting for her.” Even though Naegelin has done exceptionally well during her first year of showing, her parents are always mindful that there will be a time where she does not place and try to ensure that she does not let her success go to her head. “We have that conversa-

Nine-year-old Khloe Naegelin could not wait to begin the month-long process of breaking her new livestock for the upcoming show season. In about a month, she will begin walking with the animals and getting them ready for the summer prospect shows. (Photo by Alicia Ramirez) tion a lot,” Trisha said. “I try to prepare her for that more than anything else. I try to explain to her that they’re judging the animal, not her because she still takes it personally at this age and she doesn’t understand that it’s the quality of the animal and not her, so we have that conversation constantly to be a good sport and don’t start crying if you don’t win and shake the other contestants’ hands.” A Devine native, Naegelin showed a miniHereford at age four, but started regularly competing last summer with her first projects that she raised and trained with the help of her father, John. “[John’s] always raised

cattle, but last year was really the first year she got really involved in it,” Naegelin’s mom said. “She doesn’t have older cousins or anybody that have done it, or at least that she’s been around. She hasn’t really been exposed to it.” This past week, Naegelin’s dad brought in her new group of livestock for the upcoming show season that will begin later this summer. “You have to try to break them,” Naegelin said of her new cattle. “You tie them up and just mess with them. You pet them and scratch them with the stick and feed them cubes and stuff. When they’re not too wild, you start walking with them.”

Before Naegelin is allowed to walk with the animals, her father ensures that they are calm enough to be handled and will not run off or otherwise pose a threat to Naegelin. “When they first start walking them, he’ll help her some until we’re confident enough that they’re not going to take off on her,” Naegelin’s mom said. “We’ll put nose rings in them and they’ll have a clip on there just to make sure that she has control and most of the time, she doesn’t really have to use it, but it’s just kind of a safety measure.” For Naegelin’s first set of steer, the family used sugar cubes to reward the projects’ good behavior while they were being trained.

“Last year we got sugar cubes and two of them were a little spoiled, so they would lick her the entire time she was showing because they wanted [sugar] because they got used to her giving them sugar,” Trisha said. “She would come out and her shirts would be covered because they would just keep licking her.” For Naegelin, raising livestock to show is her favorite activity, even though it means giving up her projects at the end of the larger livestock shows when she places. “I like everything about it,” she said. “My friends don’t really show steers, they show pigs and stuff and I’m the only one in my classroom, or probably

my grade that shows steers. My friends were all asking what I got and they were all excited and stuff.” Trisha said that since she was little, Naegelin has said she wanted to be a veterinarian working with animals, which she gets to do on a daily basis with her projects. Along with the livestock the family has at the home outside of Devine, there are also a variety of dogs and cats that run around the property. “I think it’s soothing and relaxing and she’ll sit there and talk to them when she’s in the arena with them and she doesn’t realize how big and powerful they are,” Trisha said. “She thinks it’s no different than the puppies running around.” While Naegelin cannot get enough of raising the animals and showing them around, her parents often need to remind her that she does have other obligations like school and volleyball that she needs to tend to as well. “Of course she wants to come out here every day as soon as she gets home from school, but it’s hard during the school year,” Trisha said. “She wants to be out here late, but we have homework and she’s in a ton of activities and grades come first, so she gets really excited about it.” For the entire family, which also includes sixyear-old Ace, this past year has been filled with trips across the state where Naegelin gets to practice showing at prospect shows prior to the major shows in the spring and this year will be no different. “It seems like this year she is more excited than last year,” Trisha said. “She was excited last year, but now she’s kind of figured out what’s going on and now she’s even more excited about it.”

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