ODESSA, Texas —
One might consider animals the stars of the Sandhills Stock Show.
They receive daily food, grooming and are later put on display for judging. So, who are the hairstylists, personal chefs and publicists behind the scenes?
“He’s a horned heifer,” said contestant Mackenzie Matula. “His name is Ford. He’s really sweet. Um… we have to wash him, and bathe him, and blow him every single day. That’s practically it.”
Matula is 10 years old, and this is her first stock show. She’s pretty excited and hoping for the best.
“It’s just my first time, and he’s very gentle and stuff, so I’m ready to show him and excited for it,” said Matula. “That I would do pretty good, but the most thing that I really want to do is at least make the sale if I can’t get the highest place.”
This is a good goal for the newcomer. There are other shock show specialists that have been competing for years, and love the camaraderie and experience.
“Just to be able to connect with my friends, and meet so many new people,” said contestant Tres Spencer. “Like all the board members here. I have become really good friends with them since they’re all in the same area. We’ve gotten to know them pretty well.”
Now, Spencer is looking forward and thinking about how these skills can be used in the future.
"I like to feed nutrition programs,” said Spencer. “Learning about the ruminant animals, what they might need. Maybe learn some more feed products. Kinda make new things in the future.”
The 2023 Sandhills Stock Show and Rodeo runs through Jan. 14.