PORTALES (BNM) - Residents of the New Mexico Baptist Children’s Home and Family Ministries showed and sold livestock and other animals at three New Mexico fairs this past August and September. Residents also won multiple showmanship awards.
In August, residents participated in the Roosevelt County Fair. According to NMBCH President Randy Rankin, every child at the children’s home participated “in one form or another.” Some showed chickens and rabbits, and others showed steers. Eight of the residents sold animals, earning a combined $20,000. Residents took home prizes in five of the fair’s showmanship categories, including the fair’s overall showmanship award.
In September, two residents, including David,* traveled to Albuquerque for the New Mexico State Fair. David and his steer were awarded reserve champion in the Maine steer class. Following the win, he sold his steer for just over $7,000.
Later that month, David and two other residents participated in the Eastern New Mexico State Fair in Roswell. Those residents showed swine. David’s hog sold for $4,000 after placing fourth in its category. He sold another hog as well. According to Rankin, David’s earnings from all three animals totaled $13,500.
During a phone interview with the Baptist New Mexican, Rankin described the allocation process of the resident’s fiduciary earnings. According to Rankin, NMBCH has “some very faithful donors who give specifically to [the] 4H program,” as well as a specific budget line item that covers remaining program costs. After a resident sells an animal, the children’s home takes a small percentage to invest in animals for residents to raise the following year. The New Mexico Baptist Foundation holds the rest of the money in trust until the resident’s 18th birthday, when it is released to the individual regardless of whether or not they are still an NMBCH resident.
According to Rankin, these earnings help set residents and former residents up for success once they reach adulthood. “If a kid that lives here at the children’s home doesn’t have a family to go back home to, then that’s a pretty good start,” he added.
Rankin said that raising livestock and other animals, teaches residents responsibility. He said that throughout the year, residents rise early to feed, walk, wash and groom their animals before they eat breakfast or take care of other daily tasks. “It teaches them to care for something. It’s not just a selfish thing; they’ve got to care for this [animal]. They’ve got to care for the daily routine. If it gets sick, if it gets hungry, if it gets dirty, they have the responsibility of taking care of [their] animal exclusively,” Rankin said.
NMBCH also sends residents to seminars in New Mexico and Colorado to learn how to groom, feed and show their animals. “It’s a very strong educational tool,” Rankin said.
During this year’s Roosevelt County Fair, a resident was awarded the overall award for showmanship. “One of our young ladies won the overall. Now the overall is the big one. That means she knows how to show every kind of animal; she knows questions to answer; she knows all about that animal … And let me tell you something, it’s good to get the sale, that’s good, that’s money, but to get that buckle, that means a great deal,” Rankin said.
*Last name withheld.