Johnson, Dubose step in ring tonight

Published 7:23 pm Friday, March 5, 2010

Cody Johnson and Morgan Dubose have had a good run.

When they walk out of the ring at the Pike County Steer and Heifer Show at Cattleman Park tonight, they will leave behind a proud legacy that they hope will inspire others.

Together, Cody and Morgan have 14 years experience of “showing calves” in the Pike County 4-H program. Cody started showing calves in the fourth grade and Morgan in the seventh. Their years have been extremely successful ones.

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Both have showed Grand Champions and Reserve Champions. Together, they have won more ribbons, rosettes and trophies than either can count. Together, they have logged thousands of hours working with their calves. They have competed for championships, both experiencing victory and disappointment.

But through it all, their commitment and dedication to task have been unwavering.

“Showing heifers has been so much fun, and I’ve learned so much,” said Morgan, a senior at Pike Liberal Arts School. “My last Pike County Steer and Heifer Show will be sad, and I’m sure a few tears will be shed. I love showing calves, and I’ll miss it.”

Cody said, too, that his last county steer and heifer show will be a little emotional.

“I’ve been showing calves for nine years,” the Charles Henderson High School senior said. “So, it will be sad. Showing calves is what I do. It’s been a big part of my life. Not to show anymore will be a big change.”

Cody and Morgan both live on the farm and have been around cows all their lives.

When Cody became a 4-H’er, his granddad, James O. Johnson, encouraged him to show a calf just to see if he liked it.

“I showed a steer off the farm and got the ‘best native steer’ award,” Cody said.

“I liked showing calves from the start and, after that, I have showed two or more calves each year. I have showed up to three. This year, I’m showing three.”

Cody shows both heifers and steers but he prefers heifers.

“You can keep the heifers and, on our farm, we’re working to genetically produce good quality calves,” he said. “Steers go to the market, but that doesn’t really bother me. You get used to that.”

Giving her calf over to the market wasn’t anything Morgan wanted to do when she decided to enroll in the Pike County 4-H Steer and Heifer program.

“Amelia Spradley showed calves, and she got me interested,” Morgan said. “I went with my parents to the Pike County Steer and Heifer shows. I watched Amelia show her calves and one day, I went to her house and helped her wash her calf, and that’s when I decided that I wanted to show calves.”

Morgan wanted to show heifers because, when the show is over, the “girls” could go home with her.

Morgan started showing calves when she was in the seventh grade.

And, since that time, she has been involved in the year around venture.

Every morning and every day, when she comes home from school, Morgan has to feed her calves. She has to rinse them and, when it’s cold, she has to dry them so they won’t get sick. She has to walk them and work with them so that they will be cooperative when they take the ring at a show.

“And I love doing it,” she said.

As their days of showing calves come to a close, Cody and Morgan can look across the pasture and see the heifers that have been a part of their 4-H experiences – the ones that have brought home the championships and the ones that have stuffed their record books with ribbons.

“Some of the heifers have had calves, and that’s exciting,” Morgan said. “I hope to keep raising show calves because I love what I do.”

Morgan’s future plans are to be an elementary school teacher. She said working with calves has taught her patience and that will be beneficial when working with children.

Cody plans to attend Troy University for a couple of years and transfer to Auburn where he will pursue a career in civil engineering.

But he won’t ever completely leave the farm. That’s where home and family are.

“I’ll probably still be around raking hay for a while,” he said, with a smile.

For Cody and Morgan, life on the farm has been good and the lessons that they have learned “showing calves” will serve them well no matter what career path they take.