With a year of show experience under her belt, Glen Rose High freshman Morgan Kirby tries to capitalize on what she’s learned.
The Lady Tiger is raising her Hampshire swine “Nosey” at the GRISD ag barn. She got him in early November. After getting her start in Junior FFA, Kirby hopes to take a step forward during her rookie FFA year.
“Last year, I did really good at county but didn’t place in San Angelo,” she said. “I placed ninth at county, but got quite a bit of money for (my pig). I’m hoping this year that (Nosey) will be a success at San Antonio.
“Last year, I learned that I need to love my pig. I need to spend a lot more time with him.”
Her younger brother, Cameron, started showing a pig two years ago.
“I helped him with his first pig, and I enjoyed it a lot,” she said. “My dad, Grant, and my mom, Trisha, both showed when they were younger. We’ll end up talking about pigs at our house pretty often. My parents tell me it isn’t all about winning – it’s about the work you put into it that will help you later in life.”
Like most students, Morgan gets some help day to day.
“My dad helps me out with feeding Nosey in the mornings on his way to work,” she said. “After school, I feed him, walk him and clean him. I spend about an hour up here at the barn with him every day. Cleaning isn’t always done daily – it depends how messy your pig is.
“Most of the time, you only need to clean the pen about three days a week. Nosey is pretty neat compared to (dirtier) pigs, but he’s also kind of small. Usually, a bigger pig makes more of a mess.”
Morgan’s favorite part of the process comes when the show world is watching.
“Getting out in the ring and showing is the most enjoyable part of all this to me,” she said. “The people you get to be around are enjoyable to be with. Showing can be kind of nerve-racking.
“I’ll think about a show before I go to sleep the night before, but I’m out there with other people when I show, so I don’t get too worried about it. I’m a singer, and when I’m on stage I’m out there by myself, so when I compare it makes showing seem easier.”
Morgan enjoys the financial benefits of selling her animal, but understands it won’t always go as planned.
“The toughest part of this is if you don’t do very well in terms of earning money back, you still have to work it off,” she said. “It’s still enjoyable either way.”
She enjoys the community of young showmen learning together at the ag barn.
“I just enjoy being with animals so much that I like raising my pigs here,” she said. “The juniors and seniors help me clip my pig before shows. They tell me what I need to work on when I get out in the arena. You definitely get to make more friends raising your animal here.”
Although she’s only got one year of show experience, Morgan has a good idea about what it takes to be successful.
“I just try to the best of my abilities,” she said. “I make sure my pig and I are both prepared. You need to make sure your pig is controlled and that his face isn’t down in the dirt.”
Morgan has also done a FFA Leadership Development Event (LDE) for creed speaking, plus she plans to do a Career Development Event (CDE) about dairy cattle. The singer is also planning to do the talent contest for the FFA state level.
“My advanced classes in school keep me busy, and I’m also in the theatre,” she said. “I’m in all of the (theatre) shows, which is time consuming. Balancing it all out is hard, but it’s a lot of fun and it helps me be disciplined.”
Morgan appreciates having the support that allows her to fit Nosey into her busy schedule.
“(GRHS Ag Teacher) Mr. (Blake) O’Quinn helps me with this, along with my parents and grandparents,” she said. “I’m hoping to do the best I can at county with good results. As long as I have a great time, that’s all that matters to me.”