Siblings show for the first and last time
By Kylie Fitch
Cullen Stumfoll, a senior at Industrial High School, and Ellasyn Stumfoll, a third grader at Industrial Elementary West, made the trek to Houston with their show lambs Kenny and Forrest Stump on Tuesday, March 7. The siblings entered the ring in the same class along with 77 other contestants on Thursday, March 9.
Showing lambs has been a tradition in this family. Their mom, Dawn, knows firsthand how fun showing animals can be and how it teaches responsibility. She has experienced shows as a participant and a parent. Stumfolls’ uncle, Bradley Johnston, breeds show lambs and he also showed, as did his children.
Cullen grew up watching his cousins show lambs which led to his uncle convincing his mom to get his older brother, Hayden, a lamb. “As soon as I turned eight, I wanted to show,” Cullen said, which is the age of eligibility. He has been participating in livestock shows for ten years so naturally when his little sister was ready to show he stepped up to help teach her.
“There was a lot she needed to be taught since she has never done anything like this before,” says Cullen, “from putting the halter on her lamb to being able to set him up and control him in the ring.”
A typical day for Ellasyn includes going to school, changing into her workout clothes and cheer shoes, and then going to the sheep pens to care for her animals. The first livestock show she attended was when she was one month old at Cullen’s very first time showing. Ellasyn and Kenny received fifth place in their class at the Victoria Livestock Show. Going to compete in Houston was a totally different experience for the young duo.
“The major show was way harder than the county,” Ellasyn said.
Ellasyn did not place in the event, which welcomes over 30,000 exhibitors each year. The competition is stiff. Still, she learned a lot from the experience and she believes she was “good and confident going in.”
Cullen’s expectations were high and he “knew what [he] had to do to be successful at the highest level,” he said, “but things don’t always turn out how you want them to.” Although he did not get the sale slot, Cullen feels “proud knowing that will be [his] last time being in an arena.”
Ellasyn will continue to attend the county show but she is still on the fence about returning to Houston to show. She will likely return for the petting zoo, which she said was her favorite part of her time there. Regardless, her siblings will be there to cheer her on. Cullen enjoyed spending his time with his friends and family at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.
He said, “One thing I will miss is the amazing food.”