Q & A with Steve Kruse, Ag Teacher at UT/MCH Charter School

Each year, MCH students participate in at least two livestock shows to show and sell animals raised and cared for on the Boys Ranch. There were a total of 25 Waco campus and Boys Ranch youth who participated in the 2011 McLennan County Junior Livestock Show in January.

Steve Kruse, an agriculture teacher at the MCH charter school, shares his knowledge on what it takes to show animals and how to teach our youth important lessons through the process.

Steve Kruse
Q: What does it take to get ready for a competition like a livestock show?
A: The process starts in September. The youth need to really start bonding with their animal. They need to become knowledgeable of the rules of the competition. They need to be working closely with their animal in order for the animal to trust them and be willing to follow commands that are needed when showing animals.

Q: What is the process that a youth goes through to get an animal?
A: Each summer, youth sign up for the type of animal he or she is interested in. Part of the process in determining how youth are paired up with an animal depends on the youth’s maturity, work ethic, and the amount of initiative they take with the animal.

Q: What responsibilities do the youth have in taking care of their animals?
A: The youth have to feed their animals twice a day and clean their pens and water troughs. They also bathe, clip and brush their animals. Patience is important because the animal is not always cooperative. Our youth are taught to prepare the animal to make sure it looks good and is feeling good, so they will show better for the judges. This is an exciting and stressful time for our students.

Q: What do the youth learn by taking care of and showing animals?
A: They learn good work ethic, life skills, how to work with the public, and the responsibility of taking care of something other than themselves. I was very proud of how all the youth showed their animals this year. They have improved considerably since our last show.

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