For some teens, high school is still a time to take it easy. And then, there are the rare exceptions. Children of all ages that exhibit livestock often spend most of their free time over the summers, evenings and mornings in the barn caring for their animals. When I approached Devin to complete his interview he was in this exact same situation.
Over the past few years I have had the privilege of watching Devin Lopez grow into the accomplished young man he is today. This year at the Dona Ana County 4-H and FFA EXPO he was recognized as the Senior Lamb Showman.
Those who have worked with livestock understand the hard work and long hours that go toward receiving this coveted award and accompanying buckle. Devin is no different. However, he does note that he has found success in always striving towards “a positive attitude” and constantly reminding himself to perform better.
Devin has shown lambs for two years, but has also exhibited a variety of other animals and found success there as well. Before the Dona Ana County EXPO concluded, Devin walked away with the Breed Champion York, Reserve Black Face Lamb, Champion Cross Lamb and Reserve Grand Overall Lamb.
When asked who has been instrumental in helping him aspire to this level of showmanship, he mentions his agriculture teacher, Mr. Bryan Mitchell, and lamb breeder
Daniel Melendrez as invaluable resources. Devin is also helping three families with young children to learn to show lambs, and happily adds he will be helping a fourth family after the New Mexico State Fair concludes.
Looking through my camera lens, I watched Devin in the show ring as he exhibited all his animals. I could see the immense passion that drove him to never settle for second best. He is truly awe inspiring for anyone who is watching. He attributes his love of showing to sharing his commitment to excellence, but also to “seeing my friends, from all over the state of New Mexico; friends I’ve made through years of showing.”
Though Devin feels accomplished, he’s not yet satisfied, and hopes to win more ribbons at the three fairs he will be attending this season. His goals are to make sale and perhaps add another showmanship buckle to his collection. Devin adds that next year he’ll be getting new animals for competitions in Denver and Phoenix. Upon completing high school he hopes to pursue a degree in animal science.
Congratulations Devin, your future is looking bright! For more photos of the 2015 Dona Ana County 4-H and FFA EXPO please click here.