Stock show contestants optimistic as Rodeo Austin allowed to proceed

Rodeo Austin moving forward is good news for hundreds of students who show animals at the stock show each year. Many of them use the money made from the auction to help pay for college.

“Either they place and they will make auction or they will end up being sold to a bigger buyer,” said Abbey Jennings, who plans to show her two steers at different rodeos next week.  

Jennings has been showing animals at Rodeo Austin for the last eight years. 

“The process is definitely just finding out what animal fits you best. I started with a pig and decided I wanted to go a little bigger,” said Jennings.  

Her 18-month-old steers Buddy and Homer aren't just larger in size. They come with big personalities and a lot of responsibility. 

RELATED: Despite coronavirus concerns, Rodeo Austin will happen

“While my friends were going to football games and parties and stuff like that, I was here cleaning and feeding and walking and washing. So it was definitely hard to adjust to that and having that double workload, but I think it's definitely going to be worth it in the long run,” Jennings said.  

This year Jennings will take Homer to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Buddy will stay a little closer to home. 

“We planned for him to go to the Austin Rodeo since he was younger, so it was definitely hard to see it might be canceled,” said Jennings.

The 16-year-old understands why county officials considered canceling Rodeo Austin to prevent a coronavirus outbreak. 


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“There's definitely a lot of people who come from a lot of different places around the world and, so, I think that does bring some concern,” Jennings said.  

Still, Jennings is worried what that would mean for everyone who invested in showing animals this year. 

“Especially raising them all year, your goal is to make auction and get that money for college and for your next project and, so, not having the opportunity to be able to make that money definitely is hard for a lot of kids, especially me,” said Jennings.  

After all, she couldn't just hold onto Buddy until next year's stock show. 

RELATED: Travis County Commisioners Court considering canceling Rodeo Austin

“If I were to take him next year, I feel like he would be too heavy. And that's why a lot of people will end up getting a new project. So he would honestly be done and that would be a lot of time and hard work wasted,” Jennings said.  

Luckily, Buddy will still get to put his best hoof forward next week. Although, that will mean a tough goodbye for Jennings.

“Giving them away, it does get hard. Just because you build such a close bond with them. I mean, you're with them almost more than you're with your best friend,” said Jennings.