Livestock ambassador shares story of life at the fair
Long before Megan Callaway ever considered raising goats for the Jackson County Livestock auction, she was a passionate supporter of the event.
The 16-year-old Edna High School junior remembers prancing around the fairground in tiaras and sashes with her mother and grandmother as a "Little Miss" first runner-up, listening to the fast-talking auctioneer shout numbers atop a humming crowd eager to buy livestock that made it past the judging rounds and secured a slot at the sale.
"I've always been a part of the fair. I can't remember a fair that I wasn't part of," Callaway said. "Some of my first memories were here."
When she was old enough to raise livestock, Callaway decided goats were the way to go.
"At the time, it was the first year we could raise goats, so I chose to raise goats," she said.
Fast-forward eight years; Callaway has placed in showmanship categories every year and shown goats in more than 16 shows.
She has served as a fair ambassador for five years, serving this year as captain. She also cheers on varsity cheerleading, plays varsity volleyball, serves as her 4-H club president, as well as a 4-H County Council member.
As active as she is, she maintains an "A" average.
"I stay fairly busy throughout the year," she giggled.
Though she's never won grand champion or reserve champion, Callaway is a seasoned livestock show participant who has raised more than $11,000 for college.
"It teaches you good responsibility, and it's paying for me to go to college," she said, mentioning she wants to be a dental hygienist one day.
This year, Callaway's goat died of kidney failure weeks before the first tag in. In a rush, she purchased a second goat, which didn't qualify for the sale - a first for the livestock show ambassador.
"I don't know if my first goat was a winner, but it sure would have been close," she said.
Instead, Callaway spent her time at the auction setting up the event, assisting attendees with any needs they may have with their animals and generally setting a good example for the younger livestock show participants.
Callaway said she's sad her goat didn't make it to the sale, but she's looking forward to her final year in high school, which will also be her final year at the livestock show.
"I'm going to miss it - not being a part of the fair," she said. "I'll raise one more goat next year as a senior, and I'll do my best."