Rozyn Rogers walked out of the lamb and goat show ring at the Gregg County Youth Expo’s Jackpot show Saturday with a blue ribbon in hand and a goat named Jade in tow.

A small crowd gathered around her to take pictures and applaud her as she left the ring, all smiles and walking over to her parents to get some prize cotton candy. Rozyn will be 2 years old next month.

“It’s really important to get them going young,” Rozyn’s mother Emily Rogers said. “You get them going young and they get excited ... it’s a walk in the park after that.”

The two rings Saturday for steers, heifers, lambs and goats were located in the arena at Cross Brand Cowboy Church outside of Tyler. Rozyn competed in the pee wee division.

Rogers is an Ag Teacher at Sabine High School and is helping cultivate her daughter’s love of animals and agriculture. She said she has been showing animals for her entire life and wanted to pass it on to Rozyn.

“She’s a big animal lover and wants to be real hands on,” Rogers said.

Each morning, Rozyn goes out on the family farm to collect eggs for breakfast and then feed the animals.

“She has no fear,” Rogers said.

While Jade the goat was a bit bigger than Rozyn, the heifer she showed shortly after was quite a bit more than 10 times her size.

The heifer, Daisy, weighs about 850 pounds.

“She’s been around livestock her whole life,” Rogers said. When Rozyn saw the heifer being brought into the arena, her face lit up.

“That’s Daisy,” Rozyn said, reaching out to pet her.

Her parents bought Rozyn her first show stick Saturday. She even had a chance to carry it while showing Daisy.

People gathered around the ring to watch the toddler show a heifer, phones and cameras at the ready. Livestock Judge Josh Owens smiled as she walked around the ring with some help with Daisy from adults.

“This is the fun part,” Owens announced over the microphone. “You get out here and work with the pee wees.”

Rozyn was handed a Gregg County Youth ribbon and a small tub of cotton candy as a prize.

After showing, Rozyn was picked up by her mother and went over to give Owens a high-five.

“She’s probably been to about a dozen shows with us,” Rogers said, smiling. “It’s in her blood to show.”

Landrie Austin, 15, and West Austin, 9, of Weatherford traveled to East Texas to practice showing their cattle, Elvis and Hot Sauce, before their big show in Abilene in February.

“I got first for breed,” Landrie said of her shorthorn.

The second annual Gregg County Youth Expo was held Thursday and Friday for Gregg County 4-H and FFA members, followed by a jackpot show open to others Saturday.

Gregg County students exhibited livestock projects, ag mechanics projects, baked goods and floral arrangements.

Rogers said her students attended the youth expo and went home with several prizes and sales.

“The kids have put so much time and effort into their projects before COVID ever started with hours and thousands of dollars of work,” Rogers said. “It was disappointing when shows were getting canceled, and it kind of put us teachers into a panic, like, what can we do and how can we get these kids some normalcy back in their life.”

Students, teachers and parents were pleased when some shows like the Gregg County Youth Expo continued on.

“It was great that they were able to show,” Rogers said.

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Courtney Stern is a public safety reporter covering a wide range of topics. She grew up in Baltimore and later earned a journalism degree from the University of Miami. Stern moved to East Texas from Iowa with her husband and two dogs, Pebbles and Bam Bam.