Kale Lackey is always ready to guide his team to victory, whether as Tivy High School’s quarterback or roaming the Antlers’ outfield during baseball season. He’s flung plenty of touchdown passes in his football career, but he never had to escort his wide receivers to have a urine sample after a score.
That’s exactly what Lackey had to do Friday afternoon in another type of arena — The Kerr County Stock Show. Yes, the standout two-sport athlete and Tivy senior guided his Grand Champion hog into a pen, patiently hoping the black, white and pink critter would squeeze out some pee for the obligatory post-win drug test.
Such is the complicated life of having animals in the “show” — ensuring they’re not hopped on drugs. It’s certainly a temptation, but for the hundreds of Kerr County Future Farmers of America and 4H students participating in the show, it’s a reality of their hard work.
For Lackey, that effort combined school work, football practice and raising this unnamed hog that won his breed and selected as a Grand Champion, and the labor was worth it. Lackey showed media savvy when asked what was better — a third-and-long completion for a first down or winning Grand Champion.
“They’re both pretty satisfying,” said Lackey, who is hoping to play baseball after he graduates in the Spring. “It’s a tough one to pick between, because I love them both.”
Lackey has shown pigs since he was in grade school, and he’s going out in the Kerr County Stock Show as a Grand Champion. The Lackey family acquired the hog in September — in the height of Tivy’s football season — and it was Kale’s job to get this guy ready for Friday and future shows.
“I’ve been training him and getting him ready for the show, and he showed well,” Lackey said.
Like dozens of other students, Lackey’s big reward comes Saturday when the Grand Champion goes to auction, where he could fetch thousands of dollars — money that will go straight into Lackey’s college fund.
Saturday’s auction, which kicks off at 1 p.m., is one of the county’s biggest social events of the year, with more than 100 individuals, nonprofits and businesses camping out in the Happy Bank Expo Center at the Hill Country Youth Event Center. It’s not uncommon to see more than $1 million spent on critters — sheep, goats, pigs and cattle.
The show takes the ethics of performance-enhancing drugs seriously: “KCSSA maintains a ZERO TOLERANCE POLICYfor unapproved drug use and unethically fitted livestock. Such drugs include, but are not limited to, any diuretic, any unapproved growth stimulant or other unapproved medication. Unapproved means not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for slaughtering animals, including those that may be destined for human consumption.”