Four North Zulch High School students won big at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo last week.
Seniors Kiera Cosby and Kyela Cosby, sophomore Eliza Lazenby and freshman Amanda May won first place in livestock judging, outscoring more than 300 teams and more than 1,000 individual competitors.
“In the show world, this is winning the biggest competition in the nation,” said Leslie Lazenby, Eliza’s mother.
Kyela Cosby placed 12th overall individually, and Kiera Cosby placed 20th.
The same team of four also took fourth place at the San Antonio Livestock Show and Expo.
The Cosby twins’ mother Lori is the livestock judging coordinator and coordinates practices and trips, hauling the kids all over the state. The girls have all competed together for two years, with the exception of May, who is new this year.
“They’ve traveled all over the state and have done really well,” Lazenby said. “At livestock shows they put together a class of four animals. There’s heifers, hogs, lambs, goats, etc. The kids have to evaluate the animals and grade them on a scale of one to four. If they don’t pick it exactly right, they lose points.”
Additionally, the competitors must answer questions about the animals.
Lazenby said her daughter started going to all the major livestock shows in third grade for a 4H project. Eliza, along with Kiera and Kyela Cosby, received $1,500 scramble certificates to purchase a heifer or steer for competition.
Lazenby said the competition is good for the kids. Her son, in fact, has a full ride scholarship to Clarendon College doing livestock judging.
“It gives them leadership abilities and teaches them teamwork and how to speak in front of people,” Lazenby said. “They learn critical thinking skills with the judging, and they fine-tune those skills.”
The team of girls won second place at Houston last year.
Lazenby, who works for Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service, said they welcome youth interested in joining a Madison County team for 4H or FFA. Team members can start at age 9 or third grade up to age 18.