Longtime Livestock Show contestants still young
By Kyle Mooty
Veterans of Caldwell County’s Junior Livestock Show and longtime members of the county’s proud 4-H programs, Tony Martinez is all of 17 and Clarke Jakel is 16.
Each homeschooled junior are also among the 170 or so that will be participating in the upcoming Caldwell County Junior Livestock Show, which will take place at the Fair Association’s Show Barn March 3-4.
Martinez initially got involved in 4-H because her father was helping with the shows. Jakel was pulled into showing animals because of friends.
Martinez will be showing Breeding Heifers and Jakel will be showing his favorite Turkeys.
Both are former multi-time grand champions in their respective divisions.
Martinez has been in the show for nine years, beginning with rabbits, something she said ended shortly, “I began showing goats, sheep, and then cattle,” she said. “I have shown just about everything there is to show.”
Her favorite is showing Brahman heifers. “They are the most temperamental,” she said, “but they are also the most fun.”
“My Dad helped (at the shows) before I was born and when I came along, I said I want to do that. It looks like so much fun,” Martinez said. “It was even more fun than I thought it would be. The first year, I was grand champion with breeding sheep.”
She soon began excelling with multiple animals.
Jakel began showing animals in 2014.
“Some friends wanted me to get into it and I thought I would try something new,” Jakel said. “My family helped me along the way. I started with pigs and did that for two years, but that did not go too good. I think it’s because the pigs were not from a breeder, rather just a family friend that had them. I switched to turkeys in 2017 and was grand champion my first year and second year. I had a guy that helped us out a bunch. I went to chickens because of Covid in 2020 and I placed pretty well but went back to turkeys the next year.”
Jakel is expecting to do well again this year. He plans to continue showing at the Junior Livestock Show through his high school days, at which point he plans to join the military.
“I’d like to join the Army, but I’m still looking at my options,” Jakel said.
Jakel is 3rd vice president of Plum Creek 4H and Vice President of the County Council.
He believes the 4-H and showing animals has helped him for the military.
“Responsibility and perseverance,” Jakel explained. “Getting me up early and feeding them, just going out every morning. “It’s also helped with determination. The years that I didn’t do so well told me to get back up and do better.
“One, I want to protect my country, and in the process become a better man.”
Martinez is the daughter of Justin and Kimberly Martinez. Her younger brother, Wyatt, shows chickens.
Prior to last year’s show, Martinez came up with the idea to start a Little Showman’s Project where the older show kids could mentor newcomers as they began a career of showing animals in the ring.
It has taken off greatly. There were 32 kids in the Little Showman Project last year and already 34 signed up this year.
“When I was younger, I started showing with my little cousin,” Martinez said. “We were losing numbers greatly so I thought this would help. The funniest thing is the kids naming their animals. They are really random, such as Cheeto and Bubbles.
“It’s just another way to get more kids involved in Caldwell County 4H. We’re losing a lot of kids, so we need to get more kids interested in the agricultural world through 4H. Agriculture is really important this day and age, especially when you live here.”
Jakel has two younger siblings, including Callen, 11, a special needs child that shows turkeys. “He loves it,” Jakel said. Another younger brother is Conway, a Clover Kid.
Jakel joined Martinez as a mentor for the Little Showman Project.
Clarke, who will be competing his turkey again this year, is the son of Chad and CJ Jakel.
Martinez plans to attend Texas A&M after graduating high school and major in animal science production, with a minor in feed and nutrition.
As a member of 4-H Congress, she helped send a bill last year regarding the proper selling and labeling of lab created proteins. It passed in the 4-H house and senate and went straight to the desk of Texas Governor Greg Abbott. As far as she knows, it is still there.
Martinez is President of the Plum Creek 4H Club and Caldwell County Council.
There are five 4H Clubs in Caldwell County and the Junior Livestock Show has about 170 kids participating annually.
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Caldwell County Junior Livestock Show
Schedule of Events
Thursday, March 2
12-2 p.m. — Market Swine
12-2 p.m. – Breeding Swine
12-2 p.m. – Poultry
2:30-4:30 p.m. — Market Lambs and Goats
2:30-4:30 p.m. — Breeding Lambs and Goats
5-7 p.m. — Market Rabbits
5-7 p.m. — Breeding Rabbits
5-7 p.m. — Market Beef
5-7 p.m. — Breeding Beef
7-7:30 p.m. — RE Weighs
Friday, March 3
(Judging on Friday)
8 a.m. — Pledge and Prayer
8-10 a.m. – Project Fair Check In
8 a.m. – Broilers
Immediately following – Turkeys
Not before 10 a.m. – Market Lambs
Immediately following – Ewes
Immediately following – Goats
Immediately following – Breeding Goats
Not before 2 p.m. – Market Rabbits
Immediately following – Breeding Rabbits
Not before 5 p.m. – Hay Hauling 3-4-year-olds
Immediately following – Pig Scramble Contest 2nd Grade
Immediately following – Little Showman Project, Pre-K and 2nd Grade
7 p.m. – Project Fair Silent Auction Ends
Saturday, March 4
8 a.m. — Pledge and Prayer
8 a.m. – Market Hogs
Immediately following – Breeding Gilts
Not before 10 a.m. – Steers
Immediately following – Breeding Beef
Immediately following – Overall Showmanship
4 p.m. – Barbecue by Kreuz Market
5:30 p.m. – All winners with Trophies, Jackets, and Prizes Photos
6 p.m. – Pledge and Prayer
6 p.m. – Animal Auction, 6 p.m.