Spotlight on Showman - Taylor Smith

Getting to know a showman and their family is one thing, but building a friendship is another. We feel that this is exactly what we have been able to do with Taylor and his parents. An easy example of this is Taylor running to give Andrew the biggest hug you could imagine when we see him at a show. It is truly surprising the relationships we can form with a young showman, but we are thankful for each and every one of them. Taylor always has a smile in and out of the showring and he shows such pride and compassion for each of his livestock projects! Thank you Smith family for letting us join in.

From Taylor,

I am 9 years old and am in the 4th grade. I am starting my 3rd year as a member of the Fairville-Reynolds 4-H Club in Saline County and this year I was elected Club Reporter and Historian. It is my first office. I love showing pigs. My older cousins showed pigs and before I was old enough to be in 4-H, I showed their pigs at the Pee Wee Show at the County Fair for three years. I show my pigs at MO Pork Youth Association Sanctioned shows, my County Fair and the MO State Fair.

My first year to show, my Poland barrow Jake did really good and was the High Point Poland Barrow in the state. I got to sell my Spot gilt in the sale at the state fair and this spring I saw the people who bought her at a show and they were showing two of her pigs! That was cool. Last year, my crossbred barrow Rudy and I were lucky enough to win the Middleweight Division at the Saline County Fair. There’s lots of good pigs there, so I was really happy. My crossbred gilt Malena was Reserve Champion and I won showmanship at the Jackson County Show. That was my first time to win showmanship. My favorite part of showing pigs is having fun with my pigs and my friends. Showing pigs has taught me that hard work pays off and I can’t wait until it’s time to get next year’s pigs!

I also show heifers. I started showing heifers because my family has a cattle operation and my uncle is a cattle judge. My first year, I showed a crossbred heifer named Betsy. I had to work with her a lot to train her to lead and set up. Sometimes, in the beginning, I was nervous because she was a lot bigger than me. She probably weighed over 1300 pounds at the State Fair! We had a good year. She was Reserve Grand Champion at the Saline County Fair and won her class at the State Fair. This year, I showed two heifers. I was a lot more confident when I started breaking them last fall than I was with Betsy. Darlin’ was a Chi and Clementine was a Crossbred. Darlin’ was Reserve Champion Chi at the Block and Bridle Show and several others. In the end, she was the high point Chi heifer in MO and I got a cool banner to hang on my wall. Clementine won her class at the State Fair. Now, they are ready to go back to the pasture where they were born and live with Betsy and have babies. I’ve already started working with my heifer for next year. Her name is Bree and she is my first heifer that’s not all black! She has white legs and white on her face. I’m excited to see how she turns out. That’s my favorite part of showing heifers: seeing how much they change in a whole year.

We raise crossbred cows and a few Angus cows on our farm. I’ve always had lots of fun helping my dad on the farm. I fill up water tanks and buckets, help get cattle up and load the tagger when we work them. I get to drive the Kubota and slide down the silage pile and ride our horse Beau. My favorite thing about the farm is there’s always lots going on. My dad says the farm never sleeps.

My other projects in 4-H were hams, woodworking, photography and public speaking. I took a picture at the farm last year of a cow through a barbed wire fence and it was picked to go to the State Fair. This year, my black and gold birdhouse went to the State Fair. My speech was on the Three P’s of Pig Showing: Patience, Persistence and Positivity. I gave it at the County Fair and the State 4-H Speaking Contest. Next year, I’m going to try a couple new projects: livestock judging and welding. There’s so many fun things to learn and do in 4-H. I stay busy all the time!

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