Joakim Dahl-nielsen will return to Denmark in June with a bit of Texas attitude.
“This is my first time in country culture,” said Dahl-nielsen, 16, who lives outside Copenhagen. “We don’t even have a pet at my house — not even a goldfish.”
Dahl-nielsen and Malin Solvold of Norway are foreign exchange students staying with Peggy Pilant and her 18-year-old triplets — Cody, Constance and Destiny Davis — at their home in Moody, near Waco. The European students are attending classes at Moody High School and learning how to show heifers with some help from the Davis triplets.
As members of the Moody FFA Show Team, the triplets and the exchange students will show Brahman, Beefmaster and Santa Gertrudis breeds at junior competitions at the Fort Worth Stock Show.
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Solvold, 17, showed Red Velvet, an 8-month-old heifer, Tuesday during the open Beefmaster Cattle Show. Dahl-nielsen, meanwhile, plans to compete in a junior show. He will show Little Miss Daisy, a black and white Beefmaster.
Pilant is a coordinator with the Aspect Foundation, which helps families host foreign exchange students.
“I love it,” Pilant said, explaining how shortly after picking up Dahl-nielsen and Solvold at the airport in August, the Texans began showing them how to train heifers and how to dress in the traditional ranch style associated with the Lone Star State.
Showing off new skills
On Tuesday, Solvold was awarded a second-place ribbon while showing Red Velvet in the open Beefmaster competition, which had about 150 entries.
“They are very popular,” superintendent Mike Sands said. “There are great beef animals.”
Even though Red Velvet didn’t advance to a higher level of competition, everyone was happy with the results.
“They never showed until they came to us,” Pilant said. “I’m happy.”
Solvold said she was happy and didn’t think she would do so well.
Getting a Texas cowboy style
Cody Davis, who shows his own heifers and those belonging to other owners, said he likes working with the foreign exchange students because they are building lasting memories.
“I want them to have an experience of a lifetime,” Davis said.
The experience also builds on Davis’ desire to be an agricultural teacher and his natural talent at helping others at stock shows.
He and Pilant said they have enjoyed spending time with their European visitors.
Dahl-nielsen and Solvold even got Texas nicknames — Bubba and Worm, respectively.
Dahl-nielsen said his friends and family may be a little surprised to see his new sense of style.
“I’m going to go back with the stereotypical Texas cowboy culture — with cowboy boots, a cowboy hat and saying, ‘Howdy,’ ” Dahl-nielsen said.
Solvold said she is also going back to Europe with a new cowboy style, but more importantly, new friends.
“I love this family,” she said.