Like many students involved in FFA, Glen Rose High School senior Baker Butler began entering animals in youth livestock shows at quite a young age.
“About as young as I can remember,” said Butler, who is this year’s FFA secretary and has also been involved in 4-H.
He began competing in stock shows when he was in the third grade, although he wasn’t going to school in Glen Rose then. His father, Bode Butler, used to be an ag teacher at Eastland High School. Baker Butler enrolled in the Glen Rose schools starting his eighth grade year.
“When I was in fourth grade we went to Cross Plains. I think he was starting to sub in Eastland, then he got a job in Eastland and I went to Gorman fifth grade,” Baker Butler said. “Then sixth and seventh grade year we were in Eastland. That’s when I really started into it.”
But his fourth grade year was his final one for showing animals. That was about the time he started learning welding from his father.
“I did steers the first couple of years. Then we did a little bit of goats. Ever since I was little and I started welding, I enjoyed it ever since,” said Baker Butler, whose mother, Elizabeth Craig, lives in Eastland.
Since then he has been involved in ag mechanics — with some impressive results.
At last year’s Somervell County Youth Fair, Baker won the grand champion title in ag mechanics with a flatbed trainer he designed and built.
His freshman year, he won a grand championship at the San Antonio show in a gooseneck trailer division. Also that year, his trailer won the reserve champion title in Houston in the same division.
He said hat gooseneck trailer project was probably his favorite so far.
“It was the first big project that I ever did,” Butler noted.
His father, 1994 GRHS graduate Bodie Butler, owns Butler Feed in Glen Rose. Bodie Butler is also a general contractor and owner of Butler & Sons Construction, Inc. Baker’s older brother, 24-year-old Brandon Butler, currently lives in New Mexico.
Bodie’s wife, Suzanne, has a daughter, Mallory Goff, who is a sophomore at GRHS. Bodie, Suzanne, Baker and Mallory live on the 120 acre-plot of land where Bodie was raised by his own parents, off of Texas Drive.
Baker Butler picks projects that take a great deal of time to complete. He even admitted that his projects for his freshman and sophomore years were not ready in time to enter the Somervell County Youth Fair.
“There’s more to it than welding,” he said. “The plans are hand-drawn. There’s a lot of reasoning in it.”
Shooting for ag mechanics titles in some of the state’s most competitive major events — with the highest sale prices — is the primary goal for Butler.
“Last year in Houston I won my class (with a pipeline flatbed), and I was third in the division,” Butler said.
His project for this year has been kept super-secret.
“We don’t want too many people to know serious details about the project,” Butler said.
He takes his projects seriously, but he also has fun doing them.
“You always enjoy winning. You never like to lose,” Butler said. “But it’s just nice to know that I did something that is actually worth something else to people.”
Butler has also been involved in sports, playing on the varsity football team the past two seasons after being on the junior varsity his freshman and sophomore years. He recently was named as a second-team all-district center for the 2019 season.
He is about to start the 2020 powerlifting season for GRHS, after competing on the varsity as a junior. Butler played third base on the JV baseball team in his freshman and sophomore years, and was on the JV track team last year as a discus thrower.
Butler has already been accepted to Texas Tech University, where he plans to study mechanical engineering.
“After I get my mechanical engineering degree I could basically go into any field. Anything drawing up plans,” Butler said.