Stock Show roundup

01/23/2014 6:22 PM

01/26/2014 10:56 AM

Competitors lend a farm hand

Cameron Fallon couldn’t miss school this week, so a couple of friends in Grayson County 4-H stepped up to help him.

“I really should be working on my daughter’s heifer,” said Jeff Sargent, 49, as he held a forced-air hose blowing dust off a shorthorn heifer’s hide. On the other side of the stall in Cattle Barn No. 1, Justin Carney, 23, was doing the same. It’s not unusual to find folks helping one another as Stock Show events approach.

Fallon’s heifer is scheduled for the Junior Breeding Heifer Show on Saturday.

Candy Corn, a 2-year-old Limousin that belongs to Sargent’s daughter, Harley, was in the adjoining stall and is scheduled to show Sunday. A proven winner who was grand champion at shows in Waco and Wichita Falls, the heifer was next in line to be pampered. But Harley was in classes, too.

“Even when the kids can’t be here, there’s work that needs to be done,” Sargent said.

— Terry Evans

Origins of the ordinary

James Parken, 2, could only stand and watch as his 4-year-old brother, Everett, and his dad, Adam, 35, pedaled side by side on Planet Agriculture’s wind-energy demonstration bikes.

But when James went into the nearby Harvest Experience simulator with his grandpa, John Parken, it was a different story. As the elder Parken worked the controls in the mock-up of a modern tractor, James turned the steering wheel like a pro, guiding them through the rows of corn projected on screens surrounding them.

“It’s like our flight simulators,” said John Parken, 68. “I work for Bombardier at DFW Airport, where we train pilots for the business aircraft we make.”

Though the controls weren’t as complicated as an airplane’s, there were enough pedals, levers and buttons to give Parken pause. And he said it didn’t take a lot of imagination to feel as if he and his grandson were actually rolling through a cornfield.

Harvest Experience and the renewable-energy exercise bikes are among more than half a dozen interactive displays in Planet Agriculture. The large space in the Stock Show’s Poultry Barn is devoted to answering consumers’ questions when they get curious about where the stuff they eat, drink, wear and use comes from, said spokesman Baron Bartels of the Texas Farm Bureau.

“Our primary goal is to promote agriculture and educate the community on where food, fiber and fuel come from,” Bartels said.

— Terry Evans

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