Camp teaches animal show skills
CSC event attracts participants through word of mouth
By Cathy Spaulding Phoenix Staff Writer
— Texas high school senior Carly Cox credits Jacob Rickman for introducing her to Be A Champ Camp.
The two teens spent Friday afternoon inside the Connors State College show arena, grooming a Black Angus. Motivational posters reading “Chance favors the prepared” and “Winners are ex-losers who kept on trying” hung overhead.
“This is my first year working a steer ever,” said Carly, 17. “I didn’t know anything about steers when I got here. This got me ready for shows.”
More than 100 participants from 13 states attended this week’s session of Be A Champ Camp, which is geared to helping students learn how to groom and show cattle and sheep. Former CSC agriculture instructor Jerry McPeak, who has conducted the camp since 1982, said more than 400 kids came to one of this summer’s three sessions.
“It’s bigger than last year,” said McPeak, who also is a state representative. “The reason it gets larger is all word of mouth. We don’t advertise.”
Jacob Rickman, 17, of Cedar Park, Texas, had a reason to bring Carly to Be A Champ Camp.
“She’s my girlfriend,” Jacob said, adding that he is in his second year at the camp. “I just like the way they teach everyone to learn new things, and they are always enthusiastic,” he said.
McPeak said he wants the camp “to help these kids to become competitive with their sheep and cattle in the show ring.” Newt Hutchison, 9, of Canton said he has learned to clip his lowline cow and prepare it for show. “And I learned showmanship,”
Newt said. “You got to be a good showman in the ring.”
Jacob said last year’s Be A Champ Camp helped him show cattle over the past year.
“Coming here taught me everything I needed to know about showmanship and working hard,” he said. “I got reserve champion at a local show.”
Participants get a strong dose of motivation as they learn showmanship and livestock grooming.
Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb visited the camp Friday afternoon to encourage the participants.
“This is my third year to come to the camp,” said Lamb, who grew up raising cattle near Enid.
Lamb has credited his experience with livestock with helping create a work ethic.
Many former Be A Champ Campers return as camp assistants or instructors.
McPeak said he seeks to instill a positive attitude with the camps.
“The real point of the camp is, if you can be good at this, you can be good at anything,” he said.